Grammar stars to take on best
GEORGE Freeman is most comfortable hurtling over hurdles in a sprint.
But the Ipswich Grammar School (IGS) 17-year-old will compete with some of the world’s best in javelin and over 800m when he represents his school and country in Poland in June.
There IGS will represent Australia at the World All Schools Knockout Track and Field Championships in Poland, having won the Australian Track and Field Championships in Melbourne in December.
But this is an athletics meet with a difference.
The school is sending eight athletes – Freeman, Khaele Bowen, Josh Mueller, Michael Payne, Lachlan Fox, Josh Kemp, Alec Teevan and Jesse Morgan – with each of them having to compete in one track and one field event. For most of them, that means adding an unfamiliar event to their repertoire.
Sprinter Morgan has to become familiar with the shot put while 400m champion Teevan will find himself working on either his shot put or high jump skills shortly.
For Freeman, his versatility means he will not compete in his best event, the sprint hurdles, but instead will contest the 800m and javelin. “They have to compete in events outside their comfort zone,” IGS athletics coach Di Sheppard said.
Sheppard has done her research and believes the team can finish in the top five, amongst the best schools from across Europe and as far as South Africa.
Freeman is looking forward to the challenge of becoming reacquainted with the javelin, if not the extra distance training needed to get him up to competitive 800m levels.
“I only used to do it for school,” he said of the javelin. “To get selected to do it at the world championships is a bit different.”
He is determined to enjoy the experience, rather than place undue pressure on himself, but his competitive instincts mean he’ll give it nothing less than his all.
“It’s not every day you get to go to Poland,” he said. “It’s the biggest event I’ve ever done so I want to pull out a big one.”
Freeman, like his fellow IGS athletics team mates, will continue to focus on his primary event, in his case the hurdles, until the national championships next month, after which he will turn his attention to his new events.