Hammer Time for Cairns thrower Robert Johnston
CAIRNS hammer thrower Robert Johnston hopes the experience he gleans from competing at the world junior athletics championships in Spain next month helps him represent Australia at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The 19-year-old will make his final preparations over the coming days before leaving with the Australian team for a two-week camp in Germany ahead of the championships in Barcelona (July 10-15).
Johnston (right) qualified for the titles by throwing 66.43m in Hobart in February and has been juggling training and athletics competition with his medical studies at James Cook University ever since.
While happy with his current form, Johnston isn’t expecting to win a medal in Barcelona.
"Some of the Eastern European competitors have been throwing in the mid 70s, which makes it pretty hard," Johnston said.
"I’d love to get a medal, but realistically it’s probably a bit out of reach.
"I’m taking more of a long-term view and treating it as a learning experience. Hopefully competing proves the difference in me making the Commonwealth Games team in two years."
With up to 50 athletes taking part in his event alone, Johnston will be delighted just to qualify for the final.
"I’d like to throw 68m and above. To get that 69 to 70m mark would be magical," he said.
"To get a PB in my first major international competition away from Australia would be awesome.
"But 68m should hopefully be enough to get into the final."
Far North high jumper Kate Atwell will also compete in Barcelona after the 17-year-old recorded a qualifying jump of 1.80m at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships in Sydney in March.
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Hammer time: Robert Johnston has risen to great heights since he was 16 in 2009.