Ipswich athletes benefit from facing world’s best juniors

TERRIFIC TRIO:  Ipswich and District Athletic Club competitors (from left) Larissa Chambers, Cassie Purdon and Filoi Aokuso during their recent overseas competition representing Australia.


IPSWICH’S exciting athletics trio Cassie Purdon, Filoi Aokuso and Larissa Chambers had mixed success at the recent World Junior Championships in America.

However, the eye-opening experience of competing against the best teenagers in the world will serve them well in future.

That’s the view of respected Ipswich and District Athletics Club coach Vic Pascoe, who accompanied the girls to lead-up meets in Canada before the world junior competition in Eugene, Oregon.

“With that experience under their belt, there can only be improvement from it,” Pascoe said, just back from the trip.

“They understand now they are racing at the next level and they now know what to expect.”

High jumper Purdon was the leading performer, finishing an impressive fifth in the world.  She just missed the bronze with her 1.85m leap.

“Cassie was exceptional,” Pascoe said.

Aokuso set a series of personal bests on her way to finishing seventh (53.92m) in the discus.

Sprinter Chambers discovered first hand how quick elite runners like the Jamaicians are.

She was unable to qualify for the 100m semi-finals, finishing 41st out of 53 runners after her 12.05 second heat run.

“I think Larissa got a little bit overwhelmed,” Pascoe said.

Chambers also anchored the Australian relay team that also missed the final.

However, Pascoe said Chambers could use her short break to reflect and refocus after her first overseas trip representing Australia.

She’ll return in open competition later this year.

“She definitely got a lot of experience out of it, especially in the sprint side of it,” Pascoe said.

“Some of those United States, Jamaican, Brazilian and German girls, boy oh boy, they can run.

“It was so good to see all three (Ipswich club) girls compete at that level, and to make that is a fantastic achievement.”

During lead-up competition in Canada, Purdon won an event and Chambers was the fastest Aussie sprinter, finishing third in wet conditions.

The new athletics season starts on October 1 for elite competitors like Purdon, Aokuso and Chambers.

Before that, Ipswich is preparing to host its major lead-up competition, the annual winter carnival, at Limestone Park on August 17.