Heart-raising feat: Maddie’s amazing courage to win gold

CLEARING HURDLES: Ipswich and District Athletic Club hurdler Madison Wells during training for her latest state championships where she displayed incredible tenacity.


AFTER spending six hours in hospital and enduring a nasty cut on her knee, Madison Wells could easily have given up her state titles quest.

However, when it comes to courage and commitment, Wells has more than most athletes could dream of.

The Ipswich club competitor and West Moreton Anglican College student won her first Queensland schools hurdling gold medal after some heart-racing drama, literally.

Preparing to compete in the 17 years 200m, 400m and 100m hurdles events in Cairns, Wells would soon experience an incredible series of character-testing obstacles.

It started after she ran in the 200m heats on her first day of competition at the Secondary School State Championships.

Wells suddenly started to become disorientated with an elevated heart rate after qualifying for the final.

“I was just sitting there and I just didn’t feel right,” she said.

“I got up to go and get my shirt from the call room and I started to feel really dizzy in my head and started getting a few pains in my chest, and finding it hard to breathe.

“I was extremely sensitive to the bright light and stuff and I was just not adjusting very well. And my heart rate wasn’t going down for about two hours after the competition.”

With coach Vic Pascoe and her mum Sharyn understandably concerned, Madison was sent to hospital where she spent six hours in the emergency department.

Still having high blood pressure that night, she was advised to head home and rest.

It was 1am on Monday morning when she finally got to bed.

However, being in her final year of school sport and having trained so hard, Madison was not going to let that hurdle stop her.

After withdrawing from the 200m and 400m where she was a medal chance, she focused on the 100m hurdles.

“The next day in my hurdles, I was a bit shaky but I qualified second fastest,” she said.

Ipswich and District Athletic Club hurdler Madison Wells and her mother Sharyn at the Secondary School State Championships in Cairns.

Her challenges were not over. The former Lockyer District Athletic Club allrounder had to deal with another major setback.

During her 100m hurdles heat at 2.37pm, Wells severely gashed her right knee on her trail leg. The mishap occurred on the second last hurdle.

“The wind blew me sideways and I hit the hurdle in front of me . . . and my knee on the trail actually nipped the corner of the hurdle and split it straight open,” she said.

“I didn’t even know I did it.

“I was standing at the finish line talking to the officials . . . and I looked down to take my spikes off and I was just bleeding down my whole leg.

“I had blood all through my sock.”

Declining another trip to hospital to get stitches, Wells had the injury patched up in the first-aid tent where a series of strip bandages were applied.

All she wanted to do was race in the final at 11.35am the next day.

She did.

After a nerve-racking warm-up anxious to protect the strapping, she won the 100m hurdles final in a personal best time of 14.49 seconds.

The first-aid staff again bandaged her knee so she could return home to receive more treatment.

“What they said was if I got a stitch, it would actually most likely split open in the final,” she said.

So she strapped her knee with tape to complete her final surge to victory.


Highly-motivated competitor

LOOKING back on her incredible athletics ordeal, Madison Wells was remarkably calm reflecting on what had happened.

Her first state school competition hurdling gold medal made battling on worth it.

“I knew I was in shape for a PB (personal best),” she said.

“Last year I came third. The year before I came fourth so it was actually a really good result for me.”

Volunteer of the Year and athletics coach Vic Pascoe at the City of Ipswich Sports Awards on Friday night.

With so much drama at her fifth state school titles, she appreciated having her dedicated coach Vic Pascoe and mum Sharyn with her in Cairns.

“They were so helpful for me so it was good,” the highly-motivated athlete said.

“I’ve actually moved back to Ipswich and I’m training with Vic. He trains me for hurdles and he’s a really great coach.

“He helped me all the way through the comp. He was really caring and helped me through warm-ups.”

Wells was already looking ahead to more heptathlon training and future major athletic competitions.

But not before wisely taking a short break.

She is off to see a cardiologist in Ipswich on Wednesday for further tests on her heart.