Leaping Liam

Liam Shadbolt will represent Victoria in high jump at the School Sport Australia Championships in Darwin. Picture: COHEN MORTIMER
Liam Shadbolt will represent Victoria in high jump at the School Sport Australia Championships in Darwin. Picture: COHEN MORTIMER

BEVERFORD District Primary School student Liam Shadbolt is jumping for joy after being selected to represent Victoria at the School Sport Australia Championships in Darwin on September 18-23.

The 11-year-old was announced in the 10-12 years track and field state squad this month and will compete in the under 12 boys high jump.

Shadbolt earned his spot after finishing second in the State U12 High Jump Trials Competition in May, jumping a personal best of 1.54m.

In Shadbolt's second national event, he is excited for the chance to improve on his 1.45m performance last year and broaden his knowledge from both coaches and fellow competitors.

"It's going to be great for the experience and to be named as one of the best in the state is a great thrill," Shadbolt said.

"Last year was pretty good finishing seventh out of 14 jumpers.

"I think I've improved a lot since then and can achieve a personal best."

The sixth-grader discovered his talent two years ago when he jumped 1.25m to become the school's record holder by two centimetres.

"The sport just came to me as a bit of a surprise because I was just competing in all the different events during a school sports day," he said.

"When I got the record, I was shocked and it was such a great feeling that I was hooked from there."

Shadbolt began to excel in the sport last year, progressing to district and state events before competing in last year's School Sport Australia Championships.

The school captain is setting an example at the school with his dedication to the sport.

Shadbolt's parents, Rohan and Sophie, drive Shadbolt to Bendigo for personal coaching once a month.

Shadbolt also borrows the school's high jump mat and bars to practice in his backyard regularly.

"I would not be competing without the help and support of my parents, the school and my Bendigo coach," he said.

"I play a lot of other sports as well including badminton, golf, football and other track and field events.

"I just love fitness and being able to get outside instead of sitting inside on the phone, watching television or playing video games."

In a school of just 26 students, principal Phillip Cox said it's a significant achievement as the whole school begins to rally behind him.

"We admire Liam and his parents' commitment and we're very proud of Liam as he prepares to represent the school and the state at a national level," Cox said.

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