Kiwi sprinter Dominic Overend probably doesn't remember the first time he stepped foot on an athletics track.

That's because the 16-year-old prodigy was literally in diapers when he joined the Ellerslie Athletics Club at the "prime" age of two.

But Overend certainly won't forget the moment he was officially selected to represent New Zealand at next month's Youth Olympic Games as he prepares to pull on the silver fern for the first time in his sprinting career.

"It means that I'm on the top in my sport and I've put a lot of work into it so to chuck on the fern and see how I go is a very big step for me," Overend told the Herald. "I'm very excited to see where I am in the world."


Decisively ranked second in the country for the 200m sprint with an astonishingly fast record of just 21.54 seconds, Overend is setting the standard as one of the country's leading sprinters.

However, it's not surprising that Overend, who broke his first Auckland record at the age of eight, has a rich family history in athletics with his grandfather, father, and mother all champions in their own right on the athletics scene.

And it was exactly those inspirational family heroes who have kept Overend from throwing in the towel after suffering a nasty string of season-ending injuries – including a recently broken ankle which put his Olympic dream in doubt.

Dominic Overend is currently ranked 25th in the world. Photo / Michael Dawson
Dominic Overend is currently ranked 25th in the world. Photo / Michael Dawson

The world no. 25 was stuck in a moonboot for more than four weeks mid last year after having keyhole surgery and was only able to return to the track in October – just two months out from the start of what needed to be a season consisting of all-or-nothing performances.

"I had to overcome them [injuries] and then work hard as well to win lots of championships," he said.

"I've just had really good people around me and a good support crew that just keep you pushing and even when I am injured just doing and progressing in other things that make you feel like you're getting stronger or faster."

Taking out the 2017 New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships in the 100m followed by a New Zealand U18 title at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships, Overend hit the ground running before securing another gold medal at the Australian Championships in Sydney.

But his success didn't end there with Overend earning the fern at the Melanesian Championships in Vanuatu last May where he secured his spot in the Youth Olympic Games.


Now, with his focus solely on next month's event, nothing seems to be holding Overend back with 100m gold medallist and coach Matthew Wyatt impressed with his young star's approach.

"Dom is a talented young athlete, not just from his physical standpoint but his passion for what he does ... he's got big, big goals," said Wyatt.

"He loves competition and so he's always thinking about what he needs to do in order to prepare himself for that competition, both on the day or three months out."

Realistic about his approach and expectations, Overend said he would be stoked to finish with a personal best at the event.

"It's my third proper 200m in 12 months so to be able to get a PB would be a good opportunity," Overend said.

"There's lots of factors, it's my first big event, so I'm just excited to see how I go under the pressure. I'm not putting too much pressure on myself.

"I'm just going to go out and enjoy myself."

The Sumer Youth Olympic Games will kick off on October 6 in Buenos Aires.