Medal for gutsy run

By Gary Caffell

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Wairarapa College athlete Daniel Anstis lacks nothing on the score of courage.

That much was evident when he claimed the bronze medal in the AWD (athletes with disability) boys 400m at the national secondary schools track and field championships in Dunedin last weekend.

Anstis, 21, had taken a sore calf muscle into two previous finals over 100m and 200m on the same day and, while the 400m was seen as his best medal chance, coach Mark Harris admits he gave serious thought to withdrawing him.

But with the event being the last time Anstis would be eligible to compete at this particular meet, and Anstis keen to line up, he was given the green light.

"He was limping so badly in the warm-ups I did wonder whether he would even be able to finish the race," Harris said. "If it wasn't his swansong at secondary schools I would have pulled him out, he was that bad."

Taking that into account, the effort of Anstis to place third in a very respectable 60.28s was outstanding even though it was slightly slower than the 55.99s he had returned in the heats, a personal best and close to the meet record.

"I won't say he would have won without the injury but he probably would have been second," Harris said. "It was a gutsy effort, really gutsy."

Considering he is a relative newcomer to serious competition, having been with Harris for about six months, the future for Anstis looks bright with his coach saying he could have the potential to represent his country at major Paralympic meets.

"It will all come down to whether he is prepared to do the hard yards over the next three to four years, do that and who knows what he will achieve."

Harris was also delighted with the strong form shown by Wairarapa sprinters in Dunedin with Alex Howden and Sian Chapman placing fourth in the senior boys and girls 100m finals respectively and Finn Yeats fifth in the junior boys 100m.

Howden, from Makoura College, was timed at 11.19s, Chapman (Chanel College) 12.47s and Yeats (Rathkeale College) 11.34s.

Such is the versatility of Yeats, who was fourth in the high jump with a leap of 1.61m, Harris is predicting he could develop into a champion decathlete.

"He's already very talented on the track ... he's got the all-round abilities to be something special."

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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