07 Dec 2022
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Two days until the 2022 Australian All Schools Championships begin in Adelaide

Some of Australia’s burgeoning track and field talent have taken their next steps towards greatness, joining Commonwealth Games champion Jessica Stenson as the first to step into the newly renovated SA Athletics Stadium ahead of the 2022 Chemist Warehouse Australian All Schools Championships.

The pinnacle event for school-aged athletes, the 2022 Australian All Schools Championships will be the biggest edition of the Championships yet, with more than 1,200 athletes from all states and territories showcasing their abilities from this Friday to Sunday, in team-based competition.

The Championships has unearthed some of Australia’s top talent, including Australian greats Catherine Freeman, Tim Forsyth, Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, Matt Shirvington and Steve Hooker as well as Stenson, who gave her best advice to some of her home state’s team members as she reflected on her time as an All Schools athlete.

“I have some great memories from my All Schools days, I was in Year 8 when I competed at my first All Schools. I remember the competition was an incredible learning experience. I got to experience the process of it all – controlling the nerves, understanding what to eat before a race, the call room process and all the little steps that I faced later on as a senior athlete. Best of all, I made some special friendships, which I held onto and made me look forward to the following year,” Ms Stenson said.

“All Schools creates a hunger for more. It gives athletes exposure to competition and an opportunity to better themselves each year. It plays an integral role to introducing people to high level competition while respecting what school sport is all about.

“My advice to athletes is to cherish those opportunities to learn from coaches and the team staff around you. There will be so many people supporting you and cheering you on, so embrace it all. Regardless of the result, you will have an experience that will set you up well for the future and be very memorable.”

The 2022 edition of the Australian All Schools Championships will be the first since the pandemic began, and this year’s competition is set to see meet records tumble and a new crop of talent emerge as the country’s junior athletes dream big ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Games.

One of the more experienced athletes on Team South Australia is Marley Raikiwasa, a World Athletics U20 Representative who will contest the Women’s Under 18 Discus.

With a 52.59m personal best to her name achieved at the same stadium in March this year, the 17-year-old will be looking to build upon her success and follow in the footsteps of meet record holder and athletics great, Dani Stevens.

“I’m super excited for All Schools. It’s another opportunity to compete with the best athletes from across the country and an opportunity to put my work to the test. My goal at the minute is to work on my technique and get it top condition,” Ms Raikiwasa said.

“It’s my third Australian All Schools Championships, and it will also be my last so it’s a full circle moment for me that it’s here in home in Adelaide. I’ll be soaking up all of it, and enjoying the experience from the call room, to warming up with other competitors and doing the best that I can this week.”

There will be more on offer over the weekend, with the likes of school-boy Sebastian Sultana taking to the track after demolishing the Men’s U18 100m record just last month with a 10.27 run. Hailed as the next Rohan Browning, Sultana has chiselled 0.33 seconds off his personal best over the course of a month and has his eyes set firmly on gold.

Commonwealth Games representative Indiana Cooper (T38), also from Team NSW, is the favourite to win the Women’s U20 Para 100m but will need to defeat the likes of fellow NSW athlete Mali Lovell (T36) who has been earmarked as a future Paralympian. 17-year-old Lovell will be looking to get runs on the board ahead of the World Para Athletics Championships next year.

One of the younger competitors for Team Queensland is Gout Gout from Ipswich, who caused a stir breaking the Under 16 100m record in 10.57. Victorian Marcus Wakim will compete in the Men’s Under 17 5000m race walk, after making his international debut this year at the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships. He has a personal best of 21:40:60 – more than 30 seconds faster than the current record meet.

Supported by the State Government through the South Australian Tourism Commission, the 2022 Chemist Warehouse Australian All Schools Championships welcomes friends, families, schools, locals and travellers to watch these Brisbane 2032 hopefuls in action. Those that aren’t able to attend can tune in live via Athletics Australia’s live stream on YouTube.

Athletics Australia Chief Executive Officer, Peter Bromley said after three years, it is thrilling to welcome school kids from across the country to the 2022 Chemist Warehouse Australian All Schools Championships.

"This is set to be a huge celebration of our sport and we can’t think of a better way to begin the Australian Summer of Athletics as we welcome teams from every state, including a new team from North Queensland,” Mr Bromley said.

“To all competitors, congratulations on your selection to your state or territory team. We wish you every success in striving towards your goal; whether it’s chasing down a personal best or standing atop of the dais.”

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said it was fantastic to be welcoming the nation’s best talent, together with their families, friends and fans to South Australia for the Australian All Schools Championships.

"As the first time the event has been held since the pandemic, we know this year is even more special for all involved. I welcome the 1,200 athletes and their entourage to our state and encourage them to explore Adelaide and regional SA during their stay,” Minister Bettison said.

Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing, Katrine Hildyard said the State Government has invested $6 million in stadium upgrades which includes the installation of the new Rekortan G13 gel track.

"This new track meets World Athletics specifications. It is excellent that we can welcome young people from across the country to compete on it at this iconic event this weekend and that it will be a huge asset in continuing to attract world-class athletics events going forward,” Minister Hildyard said.

“Polytan and Chappell Builders designed the track with sustainability in mind, utilising 88 per cent renewable or recyclable content.

“Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the State Government, Athletics SA and Little Athletics, the redeveloped stadium will benefit the entire athletics community for many years to come and give aspiring young athletes the opportunity to pursue their sporting dreams at a world class facility.”

The 2022 Chemist Warehouse Australian All Schools Championships, supported by the South Australian Tourism Commission will be held at SA Athletics Centre from December 9-11.

For more information on the Championships, including the event timetable, entry lists and technical rules, please click here.