Dominic Overend is a creature of habit. The Auckland Grammar School sprinter has specific routines he follows before and during major races.
“The week before a big race I always have a pie and eat a packet of skittles. The night before I enjoy steak and shave my sideburns. I wear no socks when I compete like Usain Bolt. I don’t know why I do this, but I always have and it seems to work.” Overend explains.
At last December’s National Secondary Schools Championships in Auckland the calculated Overend was forced off stride by Roderick Solo, an unusually close competitor.
“We were even going into the second to last hurdle. Instead of staying calm I tried to accelerate past him. I over strode and kicked the hurdle over, falling out of contention. I was disillusioned and angry.” Overend laments.
Overend channelled the fury of failure into the 200m and came away with a rousing victory and maiden National title.
“The 200m was real tactical because there were three races so you had to pace yourself, but also ensure you got a good lane for the final. I started well, channelled my anger from the hurdles positively and came away with a victory I was really proud off.” Overend acclaims.
Overend had a good start in athletics. His grandfather was an Auckland triple jump and sprint champion while his father was a decent competitor. Dominic reflects on his first major success while competing for the Waitakere Athletics Club.
“When I was 11 the club toured Australia for a Trans-Tasman competition and I won the 100m, 200m and long jump. It was a big boost for my confidence and encouraged me to take school athletics seriously.”
Overend is coached by Mathew White whom he praises as his “idol, mentor and friend.” This season Overend has made considerable progress reducing his personal best in the 100m to below 11 seconds (10.99s), running a 22.23s in the 200m and leaping 6.89m in the long jump. He stepped up to the Under-18 age group at the National Club Championships and finished fourth in the long jump and second in the 200m.
“It was the first time I have stepped up to that level. I ran a personal best in the 200m and was pretty happy with the way I went. My goal is to run under 22 seconds for the 200m and jump over seven metres in the long jump.” Overend says.
The College Sport Auckland Championships were held last Tuesday. There were seven records broken in the entire meet. Overend missed but claimed victories in the 100m, 200m and long jump. Any theories as to why the record books were relatively untested.
“I think the Nationals on the weekend took a lot out of the leading competitors. I was just happy to win to be honest. It’s been a long season and it’s great to get rewards for hard work.” Overend says.
In the winter Overend plays fourth grade rugby, but on Tuesday will head to Sydney for the Australian Nationals where he will compete in the Under-16 age group.
The records broken in the Championships were.
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