Maitland's Mitchell Lightfoot has set a new personal best time of 13.52 seconds in winning the men's Under-20 110 metres hurdles at NSW Country Championships on Sunday.
Racing at his home track. the Maitland Regional Athletics Centre, an elated Lightfoot, 18, set the fourth fastest Australian Under-20 time ever beating his previous best by 0.13 seconds.
He went below the World U20 Champs Qualifying mark by an incredible 0.68 seconds, and now sits just 0.04 second behind the personal best of reigning national champion Tayleb Willis from Victoria.
Speaking after the race, Lightfoot said his performance was beyond his expectations for the meeting and a great reward for the team behind him.
"I can't believe it, my coach and I have been waiting for a result like this, I couldn't be any happier," Lightfoot, from Largs, said on Sunday after winning the title for the second year in a row.
"The amount of work I have done with my coach and the team over the past couple of moths coming out of COVID was unreal. This is just such a great reward with it all coming together.
"That's fourth now on the All-time Australian under-20 rankings up from my previous best of sixth. I haven't checked the world rankings yet, but that should pump me up. I should be top seven for under-19s this year.
"It's been tough with COVID. I've just been training at my local oval for a while.
"I switched coaches just before COVID really started to happen and it's starting to come together now. I'm really pleased all the meeting are starting to come back.
"I put a lot of my success down to my trainer Andy (Burton) and the team who is back behind me my physios Ryan and Tim at Hunter Performance Physio and my gym coach Drew, Quantum Athletics I put so much down to them.
"It's an individual sport but at the end of the day I wouldn't be able to do it without them."
As part of his preparations for World Junior Champs in Colombia in August, Lightfoot has a whiteboard in his bedroom with goals and target times written down.
"I originally had a couple of times written down on the whiteboard in my room, but I've had to rub them off and keep on getting it lower,"
"At the moment I do have 13.10 written on my board, so I've set a pretty high goal and hopefully get around that or even go under it."
If he does he will break Kyle Vander-Kuyp's Australian open record of 13.29 seconds set in 1995. The world record belongs of 12.8 second was set by American Aries Merritt in 2012.
Lightfoot has one more major meeting in Canberra before taking a break and then gearing up for the world titles.
He said training specifically for his event was about practice and practice until it became muscle memory at the end.
This is the fourth time, Lightfoot has run below the original Australian qualifying time set last year of 13.8 seconds for the World Junior Champs, the mark has been lifted this year to 14.20.
"I'm not sure why they lifted the time, but it's good to know that I've run four times now under that original time of 13.8 seconds."
Full results of Maitland competitors across track and field at the NSW Country Champions are to come.
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