Canberra junior star Andrea Thompson bolsters national title hopes

Canberra junior Andrea Thompson will attempt to make the leap to senior glory at the athletics national championships in Sydney this weekend after claiming age-group gold medals.

The capital’s senior athletes will ride the wave of junior success when they start their national title campaigns at the Sydney Olympic Park athletic centre on Friday.

More than 40 Canberra competitors will chase glory, including 100 metre champion Melissa Breen and hurdler Lauren Wells, who is aiming for her 10th n title.

But youngster Thompson (long jump) is aiming to step up against older rivals to stamp themselves as stars of the future.

Thompson won the under-20s long jump event by almost 10 centimetres with a 6.12 metre leap.

Canberra finished the juniors with an impressive medal haul, including 10 gold medals, after under-20s 5000 metre runner Courtney Hopkins won her event after making a dash from the airport to the track after the cross country world championships in Uganda.

Eddie Osei-Nketia won the under-18s 100 metre sprint in 10.56 seconds and Athletics ACT executive officer Ben Offereins said the junior stars were ready to make the jump to the next level. </iframe

“Andrea’s a 6.30 metre jumper and if she can do that in a final, that’s medal contention,” Offereins said.

“She’s got some tough competition, but she’s really in from. We’ve had heaps of success at the junior level, which is awesome for Canberra. Our female jumpers are really coming through.”

Athletics ACT claimed its first senior gold medals on Thursday with Jayden Sawyer and Cameron Crombie winning gold and silver respectively in the ambulant javelin.

London Olympian Offereins has withdrawn from the 400 metre after suffering a lower-leg strain last week, but has set his sights on a career farewell at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year.

“The injury isn’t great timing but it’s the nature of the game. At this age you tend to be a little more fragile,” Offereins, 31, said.

“I’m aiming for the Comm Games and that will be the end for me. I’ve never had a chance to run in front of a home crowd [in a major meet] and that would be a fitting finish for me.

“The biggest challenge is keeping the body on the track, but that’s the goal.”