‘JT’ on fast track to Commonwealth Games dream

WITH the initials "JT'' and the first name of Johnathon, there's every chance you'll be quick off the mark.

That's exactly the case for Tivoli-based athlete and aspiring rugby player Johnathon Taylor.

While Taylor doesn't have the reputation of rugby league maestro Johnathan Thurston, he has a fine attitude and plenty of ambition that is serving him well.

The 100m and 200m runner has already represented Australia at the Oceania Games and Youth Commonwealth Games, collecting some medals and encouraging performances along the way.

He's also recovered from a three month setback due to a torn right hamstring late last year.

The personable year 12 St Edmund's College student is pursuing his goals with a sensible approach.

"I'm keeping my options open,'' Taylor said, also enjoying rugby where he plays on the wing or fullback for his school team.

Ipswich Sports Star of the Month Johnathon Taylor warms up at the track.
Ipswich Sports Star of the Month Johnathon Taylor warms up at the track. David Nielsen

Since 2014, he's been working with elite long jumper Stacey Taurima at the University of Queensland club at Indooroopilly.

After recovering from his hamstring injury, Taylor and his coach are planning ahead.

With athletics and rugby Sevens offered at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Taylor is keen to keep training around his future university studies.

"Our main focus at the moment is to have a solid off-season,'' the sprinter said.

His major athletic successes last year included winning 100m and 200m silver medals and an Australian team 4x100m relay gold at the Oceania championships in Cairns.

That fulfilled his first dream of representing his country.

Taylor backed up in September, finishing top 15 in the 100m and 200m at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa.

He won a silver medal as part of the Australian under-18 4x100m relay team.

Then came his torn hamstring, doing a session at training.

"It took me a good three months to rehabilitate and get back into things,'' Taylor, 18, said.

Returning to competition earlier this year, he won a silver in the 200m and a bronze in the 100m in his under-20 events at the state titles.

He finished a pleasing ninth in the 100m final, racing in the older under-20 age group at the national championships.

His personal bests are 10.83 seconds over 100m and 21.71s for 200m.

"The most satisfying was making the semi-final (in Samoa), competing against the top 16 in the Commonwealth,'' he said.

"That was the biggest moment.''

Taylor is the QT-City of Ipswich senior sportstar for March in the annual awards backed by Ipswich City Council.

He joins previous winners state hockey player Jade Emblem (February), international bodybuilder Billy Knight (January), cricketer Ben O'Connell (December), weightlifter Erika Ropati-Frost (November), swimmer Leah Neale (September), masters triathlete Greg Lebeter (August) and shooter Scott Dawson (July). No senior winner was named for October.

Having done some coaching at St Edmund's College, Taylor is also looking to study exercise sports science/physiology, or secondary teaching at UQ or Griffith University.

That would give him next year's World University Games in China another international event to strive for.

Having progressed into athletics and rugby from a junior soccer background, Taylor knows anything is possible with more hard work.

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