Mullumbimby teenager in Australian relay squad
By STEVE SPINKS
WHO is the top-class athlete who will compete at the World Athletics Championships next month in Japan?
Here's a hint.
He trains on a grass track, doesn't go to the gym and doesn't have a special diet.
No, it's not Jai Taurima, the former Sydney Olympic long jump silver medallist who is a renowned junk food junkie.
It's Mullumbimby schoolboy Kurt Mulcahy.
Mulcahy, who was selected in the train-on Australian Athletics Squad last March, his been confirmed this week as one of six 400m runners that will contest the 4 x 400m relay.
The Mullum teenager is almost a throwback to the past, to a time before athletics was hijacked by scientists, nutritionists and lycra bodysuits.
"We were told a month ago (about the selection) so I'm back into training now," Mulcahy told The Northern Star.
"Hopefully I can break into the top four and get a run.
"It's all pretty even between us (the six selected athletes) at the moment, so basically whoever runs will be selected on form."
The potential of Mulcahy is scary.
His best 400m time is 46.03sec while reigning Olympic champion, American Jeremy Wariner, is the best runner in the world over the distance at 43.62sec.
Wariner, at 23 years old, has six years further training in his legs, not to mention the facilities at Baylor University in Texas, and the advice of coach Clyde Hart who is the former coach of the greatest ever 400m runner, Michael Johnson.
Pushing Mulcahy during his lung-busting training sessions with coach Robin Wright on the oval opposite Mullumbimby High School, is the fact that the 4 x 400m relay team would be one of only a handful of realistic medal hopes CONTINUED PAGE 46
Write head Mullumbimby teenager off to Japan for World Athletics Championships for the Australian squad.
The team won a gold medal at last year's Melbourne Commonwealth Games and an unheralded silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004.
The silver medal marked the%arrival of the afro-wearing John Steffensen the individual 400m Commonwealth Champion not to mention Clinton Hill and Mark Ormrod who are all part of the Australian squad to go to Osaka.
The outgoing Steffensen, who talks as fast as he runs, has supported the Mullumbimby teenager since he has broken into the elite of Australian athletics.
"I think he gets portrayed the wrong way by the media," the Mullumbimby High School Year 12 student said.
"He's always got time to say 'hello', and before my first race he knew my name and had a chat."
Mulcahy leaves for a training camp in Thailand on August 14 before heading to Japan on August 20 with the World Championships running from August 24 to September 2. Australian squad for world championships:
MEN: 100m: Joshua Ross; 200m: x Patrick Johnson, Joshua Ross; 400m: John Steffensen, Sean Wroe; 1500m: Mark Fountain; 1500m wheelchair: Kurt Fearnley; 5000m: Craig Mottram; 3000m steeplechase: Youcef Abdi; Pole vault: Paul Burgess, Steven Hooker; Shot put: Scott Martin; Javelin: Jarrod Bannister; 20km walk: Luke Adams, Nathan Deakes, Jared Tallent; 50km walk: Nathan Deakes, Chris Erickson, Duane Cousins; 4x100m relay squad: Adam Miller, Joshua Ross, Aaron Rouge-Serret, Matt Shirvington, Tim Williams; 4x400m relay squad: Dylan Grant, Clinton Hill, Kurt Mulcahy, Mark Ormrod, John Steffensen, Sean Wroe.
WOMEN: 100m: Sally McLellan; 800m: Tamsyn Lewis; 1500m: Lisa Corrigan, Sarah Jamieson; 5000m: Eloise Wellings; 10,000m: Benita Johnson; 100m hurdles: Sally McLellan; 400m hurdles: Jana Rawlinson; 3000m steeplechase: Donna MacFarlane, Victoria Mitchell; Pole vault: Alana Boyd, Kym Howe; Long jump: Bronwyn Thompson; Discus: Dani Samuels; Heptathlon: Kylie Wheeler; 20km walk: Jane Saville; 4x100m relay squad: Sally McLellan, Crystal Attenborough, Fiona Cullen, Preya Carey, Melissa Kay.