Hurdler to don green and gold

FINALS PROSPECT:  Australian track and field representative Kirra Csurhes will be in the mix at the Oceania Area Championships.


MOUNT Crosby product Kirra Csurhes is preparing to represent her country for the first time at the Oceania Area Championships at Townsville from June 25-28.

The elite 100 metre hurdler earned her place on the national team after outstanding performances at the recent Australian championships at Sydney.

Csurhes was surprised to hear of her selection after hamstring tightness left her finishing sixth in the under-20 final in a time of 14.71 seconds.

That effort was a 0.16 seconds slower than her personal best time of 14.55, which she ran in the heat.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Csurhes said.

“I thought I would nominate because you never know what is going to happen, so luckily I did.

“It’s kind of crazy.  I didn’t think I would get to do it (represent Australia) this season.”

The 19-year-old, who took several years off after suffering stress fractures in her back in 2016, only returned to training under dedicated coach Vic Pascoe last year.  Being a spectator at the state titles inspired her to get back on the track.

For her comeback season, the dynamic duo had set their sights on the national final.  Her green and gold call-up exceeded all expectations.

“I was doing heptathlon, which flared up my back,” she said.  “So I took some time off to get strong before coming back into it.

“I had to make sure my back was okay and ensure my core was strong enough to support my back.

“I wasn’t planning on competing.

“I was happy to make the final, so making the Australian team was pretty cool.

“It will be a great experience.”

Ipswich and District Athletic Club hurdler Kirra Csurhes (third from left) focuses on her form during the recent Australian Championships in Sydney.

The Ipswich and District Athletic Club star, who took part in Little A’s throughout her childhood, said she had no idea what to expect when she takes on the best athletes from around the Pacific.  However, Pascoe, who has coached at this level in the past, believes the Kiwis and Kumuls will pose the greatest challenge.

“Some of the other island countries are still developing in athletics but they are always improving,” Pascoe said.

“It is amazing how much they have improved and occasionally an athlete will come out of the woodwork who beats the Australians.”

Proud coach Pascoe was full of praise for his young charge, saying she had adapted her technique to handle an eight centimetre increase in hurdle height from under 18s (76cm) to under 20s (84cm).

“I can’t believe how well she has done,” he said.

“It is quite a bit to adjust.

“It’s the same distance between the hurdles but it’s a major change in technique.

“If Kirra improves another one or two per cent, and stays fit and healthy, she should make the final up in Townsville.

“We just need to get her tuned up and ready to compete at her best.”

Csurhes said hurdles appeared much higher at 84cm and clearing them was a case of mind over matter.

“In your mind you need to get past the fact they look higher but are not harder to get over,” she said.

“You are supposed to go as low as possible in hurdles in order to maintain speed and I’ve always been a high jumper so that has probably helped.”

The former Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School track and field captain is currently studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland.  She has reduced her workload to three subjects so that she can balance her studies and training commitments, which include four sessions on the track and at least two building strength in the gym.

In the lead-up to the Oceania Championships, Csurhes will continue to hone her technique, increase conditioning, and hopefully stay injury free as she strives to achieve another personal best at the Oceania champs.