Decathlon puts Daniel on a higher level
By STEVE SPINKS
SOUTHERN Cross University student Daniel Lawton had to give up rugby union to concentrate on his athletics career.
He's happy he did.
Lawton, from Forster, is now the No2-ranked high jumper in Australia after a stellar summer.
The 20-year-old started the Telstra A Series, Athletics Australia's professional circuit, with a third in the open high jump in Canberra in January.
He followed that up with another third in the Telstra A Series event a few weeks later in Melbourne.
But it's not just high jump that the Human Movement student is excelling in.
At the recent national championships in Sydney, Lawton competed in the gruelling decathlon event for the first time.
Imagine this: Ten events over two days.
You have to be good in each discipline to succeed, which is difficult considering the diversity of events.
There is the 100m sprint, the long jump, shot put, high jump, 400m, 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500m.
"Although they're all pretty explosive events, the decathlon tends to turn into an endurance event," Lawton said.
"You're pretty much trying to perform at your best for two days."
In only his second full decathlon, Lawton's result placed him second in New South Wales and third in Australia in his age group (Under-23s).
Surprisingly, the decathlon has not detracted too much from Lawton's high jumping momentum.
In fact, in the Canberra A Series meet Lawson jumped a personal best of 2.18 metres while completing his first decathlon.
"I didn't expect to jump that high," the Lismore Athletic Club member said.
"It was the fourth event in the decathlon so I thought I would be struggling."
However, the multi-discipline event worked to his detriment at the national titles.
After two gruelling days competing in the decathlon, Lawton lined up in the open high jump.
"I was a bit fatigued," he said.
"I only got fourth.
"If they had used the height I had jumped in the decathlon in Sydney (2.12m) instead of the height I actually jumped in the high jump (2.09m), I would have taken a medal."
As for the Southern Cross University rugby club, they are just happy that they can claim another national level athlete, along with Wallaby stars Richard Tombs and Justin Harrison.