The Armidale School’s Nicholas Makeham had a dramatic finish to his school athletics career at the Athletic Association of Great Public Schools championships at Homebush recently with a personal best result he will never forget.
Surging across the line in the Open 400m championship event in a time of 50:59, the Walcha youth won gold but fell to the ground, dislocating his shoulder but not damaging his spirits.
The result was an exhilarating surprise for the school’s captain of athletics, who said his focus going into the meet was more about enjoying the moment than a podium finish.
“I’d been doing some general training but nothing specific for the four hundred,” said Nicholas, whose previous personal best at AAGPS was 52.32. “The atmosphere there is always incredible with thousands of schoolboys, and I just wanted to really enjoy the experience of my last one.”
“Coming into the straight I saw where I was and thought, ‘wow I’ve actually got an opportunity to win at GPS!’ but the last 100m is such a grind. I knew from some coaching videos that I had to exaggerate my arms to give me extra power, and when I crossed the line my legs just gave way and that was it.”
Having been treated by medical professionals trackside, Nicholas was able to stand alongside his fellow Opens event winners for the presentation of their gold medals, the only ones that are awarded at the championships.
“Nicholas was unable to take part in the championships last year due to injury so to have this result at his last GPS meet is an outstanding way to finish his representation for TAS,” said Athletics co-ordinator Jim Pennington, who was also the AAGPS championships convenor.
“While our team was small in number the fact that so many of them achieved personal best performances at the right time reflects well on their sense of commitment.”