High jump champ gives kids the lowdown on athletics

SHE soared to heights many of us can only dream about and yesterday Commonwealth Games gold medallist Katrina Morrow passed on her expertise to some of Tamworth’s budding young track and field athletes.

Morrow is the guest speaker for today’s North West Schools Sports Association presentation and, while in Tamworth, is also conducting a couple of coaching 

sessions.

Around 30 attended yesterday afternoon’s session. 

That focused more on sprints and hurdles.

She’s running another session this morning for high jump and long jump.

The former was Morrow’s forte, winning gold at the Edmonton (1978) Commonwealth Games.

Then Katrina  Gibbs, she was second year out of school and jumped 1.93m to win the gold, breaking the Commonwealth record in the process. It stood until 1994 and is still the Australian junior record.

Morrow attended Mendooran Central School until Year 10 and represented North West in athletics on multiple occasions.

After completing her schooling at Dubbo, she then moved  to Sydney.

That was when her career really took off, and from 1977 to 1985 Morrow travelled the world competing and representing Australia.

She did as a young athlete compete in other athletics disciplines but high jump was the one that really captivated her passion.

“It’s the closest you can get to flying,” she said.

“I enjoyed the feeling of just going up and over.”

The sport was very different back then though. 

There were no comfy mats to land on and, as a young athlete, Morrow actually hurled the jump.

Mind you, she was pretty good at it. 

As a 13-year-old, she jumped 1.52m hurdling.

“A travelling coaching clinic saw me and said we should teach this girl to flop,” Morrow said.

It’s part of the reason she was only too happy to pass on some of her knowledge.

“It’s what set me on my path,” she said.

Growing up in the country, she also knows what it’s like as a country athlete striving to be the best.

There are a lot of challenges but it does instil a certain fighting spirit.

“One of things as a country athlete is you learn to overcome adversity,” she said.

“If a challenge is thrown up you learn to get around it.

“I see it as a strength of country athletes.”

Today’s presentation will be held at Wests Diggers from noon.

Around 40 athletes will be receiving awards which will include the Most Outstanding Primary and Secondary Athlete and, from that, North West Sportsperson of the Year.

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