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Ella Batten and Christi Bestry claim national medals as young athletes impress on elite stage

Jake Santa MariaMidwest Times
Mid West and State representatives Ella Batten, Nevaeh Hill, Christi Bestry and Nicole Chamberlain
Camera IconMid West and State representatives Ella Batten, Nevaeh Hill, Christi Bestry and Nicole Chamberlain Credit: Gary Clark

The top talent of Mid West athletics confirmed their status as some of the best nationally with strong performances at the 2023 National Junior Track and Field Championships in Brisbane over the weekend.

The Mid West Academy of Sport had six athletes competing and all held their own against some of Australia’s best young athletes.

Ella Batten was outstanding in the under-18 heptathlon with numerous personal bests. She won the first event, 100m hurdles, in 15.2secs, the high jump with a huge leap of 1.67m, had a steady shot put and 200m on the first day to lead the 11 other competitors at the end of day one.

The second day she recorded an excellent long jump placing fourth, and a very good javelin leaving her still in first place with just one event to go, the 800m.

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However, she was pipped in the final event going down by just six seconds in the 800m to finish a credible second overall and winning the silver medal.

Her coach and MWAS head coach Gary Clark said this was an exceptional result from a young athlete still learning the trade of this very technical and enduring event.

“She has so much potential and with a solid winter program concentrating on building speed and strength a national title could just be around the corner,” he said.

Christi Bestry contested the tough 2km under-17 steeple in a big field of 20 and had a great run sitting in the first three to four for most of the journey, giving herself a great opportunity to medal.

In this gruelling event athletes must clear 18 hurdle jumps and five water jumps, a jump every 78 metres.

“She is a very dedicated trainer putting in huge kilometres on a weekly basis and this was always going to hold her in good stead when the pressure went on,” Clark said.

“She has also improved immensely in negotiating the barriers with her hurdling technique and water jump clearances of a particularly high standard.

“Christy recorded yet another PB placing third to win the bronze medal just one second off second place, another outstanding performance at the elite level and a reward for continued improvement and a dedicated approach to her event.”

Nicole Chamberlain, another MWAS athlete, also contested the same event and whilst she was just outside her PB she recorded a good time of 7.55 in an event that is still very new to her.

MWAS 2022 Athlete of the Year, Nevaeh Hill competed in the 400m hurdles heats on Saturday, easily qualifying for the final for Sunday. With only 1.5 secs separating the first five runners in the heats the final was set for a classic finish.

Unfortunately, Hill did not have a good lead-up to this year’s final and after drawing the outside lane found the going tough, finishing fourth in a slow time by her standards of 67.37, well outside her personal best of 62 which would have seen her medal again.

Shiloh O’Reilly contested the under-14 high jump finishing a credible 11th in a field of 14 with a leap of 1.45m and Reuben Chapman competed in the under-15 200m hurdles, placing sixth in his heat with a good run of 30.49.

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