Rising stars on track
TWO Northern Rivers track and field athletes have made immediate impacts in their first season of competition.
Saminder Kang (Ballina) has been a standout at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships in Perth this week while Kyogle teenager Marty Ferguson impressed at the Australian Combined Events Championship in Adelaide last month
Kang, 17, finished second in the Under-20 triple jump in Perth and has impressed coach Phillip Newton.
Newton stumbled across Kang last September when she was competing without a coach.
"It took me a while to approach her because I just assumed she already had a coach," Newton said.
"It was the CHS state championships and she has been with me ever since.
"When I first saw her I realised there was talent there straight away."
Newton hopes to get Kang qualified for the World Junior Championships in America next year.
Ballina athlete Jay Meaney competed at the junior championships in Spain last year and is primed for a repeat.
Kang's four jumps in Perth scored a combined total of 12.30m. It was an incredible effort considering she registered 11.68m two weeks earlier at the Queensland State Championships.
"She hit the board all six jumps after fouling four times in Brisbane," Newton said.
"The surface (in Perth) helped and we stepped up her weight training in the lead-up."
To qualify for the World Junior Championships she will need to get her distance up to 12.90.
"I definitely think she can do it," Newton said.
"She has only competed in four events this season and there is plenty of work ahead."
Ferguson, 15, finished second in the under-15 decathlon at the Adelaide event.
He competed in a total of 10 events and finished in the top five for most of them.
"It's a big challenge for a kid from Kyogle to train without all the equipment he needs," Newton said.
"He is a great talent and very dedicated for someone who has only just started competing outside of school events."
It is the end of the season for the two athletes with no competition until mid-year.