Star athlete fought back from injury
By SEAN STEPHENS
A calf muscle injury nearly caused Andrew Gordon to miss out on the 100 and 200 metres junior double at the national secondary schools athletics meeting in Hastings last weekend.
The Napier Boys’ High School fourth former suffered the injury in training two weeks before the championships, and for a time it was touch and go whether he would compete.
However, he started running freely four days before the event, and had enough time to prepare.
“It was worrying for a while. I was concerned whether I would last in the nationals,” he said.
“I wasn’t going to run the 100, but then the leg came right after physio. It still ached a little when I ran but I tried to put it out of my mind and concentrate on the nationals.
“In the heats I felt really good. I think it was because I hadn’t raced for a while and was fresh. I ran personal best times and was very happy. ”
The 200 metres was his first event, and after being fastest qualifier he lined up in the final.
Gordon was defending his 200 title, and reasonably confident of success because his major opposition from the previous year was not competing.
“The race proved to be closer than I thought. I ran a shocking curve, but came away in the home straight.
“I was really worried about the 100. I wasn’t sure how Simon Geary (St Bede’s, Christchurch) would go.
“I didn’t get the best of starts in that race but everything seemed to come together about the 30-metre mark.”
Gordon’s time in the 200 was 23.13s and his mark in the 100 was 11.75s. Those times were considered reasonably fast under the conditions.
The 15-year-old began serious competition at the start of last year, and showed instant talent.
He want [went] away with several school teams, and was then chosen to run in the national secondary schools’ championships in Dunedin.
He came away with the 200 title and second in the 100.
“I didn’t think I was that good. Everything went right.”
Gordon’s training is fairly intensive and involves year-round work. He begins his build-up to a new season in April with long runs and weights. The stamina work continues until three weeks before the season opens on November 1 when he concentrates on speed.
The competition in his age-group in Hawke’s Bay is not strong, so he trains with the seniors on club nights.
“That gives me extra competition and lifts my times up.”
Gordon will move into the senior ranks at next year’s nationals, and is not sure how he will go.
“They run a lot faster times. I would be happy just to make the semis and finals next year and perhaps go a little further the following year.”
His main aim in the next few years is to qualify for the next junior world championships.
“That will take a lot of hard work. To qualify for the 100 I’ll probably have to run under 11s.” His best time to date is 11.1s.
His aim before that is the national colts’ championships in Wellington in March.
Before then he has time to reflect on his achievements last weekend.
“It’s certainly been worth all the work.”
Photo caption – Andrew Gordon, above, adjusts his starting blocks during practice after winning the junior boys’ 100 and 200 metre doubles at the national secondary schools championships in Hastings.