CRUSHED: Year 10 Coolum High School student Kobi Higgins had her dreams crushed after the 2020 Australian Nationals Athletics Championships were cancelled. Picture: Warren Lynam
CRUSHED: Year 10 Coolum High School student Kobi Higgins had her dreams crushed after the 2020 Australian Nationals Athletics Championships were cancelled. Picture: Warren Lynam

Virus pandemic crushes young athlete’s dreams

AN up and coming hurdler's career is in doubt after competition cancellations crushed her dreams of competing in her pet event.

Kobi Higgins, 14, lost her last chance to compete in the 90m and 200m hurdles after both the Little Athletics State Championship and 2020 Australian Nationals Athletics Championships were cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

After six months of training and travelling to Brisbane for competitions the Year 10 Coolum State High School student said the upcoming events would have been her time to shine.

"When I heard the nationals was cancelled it was really upsetting because it was my last year of the 200m and 90m hurdles … it was really upsetting because it was a good chance for me to do well," she said.

After breaking the Sunshine Coast Little Athletics regional 300m hurdle record last month and achieving a silver medal in the 200m hurdles at the Qld State Championships, Higgins was chosen by a national qualifying time to be a part of the Queensland Athletics team.

"Being selected in the Q-squad (Queensland team) was a big thing because it's really hard to get those times and I'm really happy that I did," she said.

"I got it twice in the 200m and the 90m hurdles, so going through in both was really good."

Nick Bennett Performance Coaching owner Nick Bennett said Higgins was in great shape.

"She has been improving consistently with hurdling and her PBS, so we were definitely looking at her making finals for sure," he said.

With more than 13 years' experience, Bennett was confident that he could prepare Higgins for the harder 100m and 400m races that she was nervous about competing in next year.

"It can be a jump for a lot of the girls going from 90m to 100m, which can take a bit of time, but … now we do have time, so I have all the confidence that they will be ready for sure," he said.

"We will come back stronger and faster."

Now labelled as a development year Bennett said his main concern was athletes' mental state.

"At the moment the biggest thing is to keep some level of normality for the athletes, kids and teenagers … what we have been doing is trying to enjoy and have some fun at training and continuing to debrief and let them express their feelings," he said.

"We are talking about those little things that we can control and improve on now, so when we step up for next season we are ahead of the game."

With school championships in doubt Higgins said she was determined to take on the challenge of the longer events.

"After having a massive break, I will really want to go back to competing properly," she said.

Practising social distancing recommendations Nick Bennett Performance coaching will continue outdoor training sessions at USC until further directions.


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