Sharp’s outstanding performance at Australian Athletic Championships

14-year old running superstar Layla Sharp has put in three outstanding performances at the 99th Chemist Warehouse Australian Athletics Championships, which were held at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre (SOPAC) from 26th March – 3rd April.

Competing in the Junior Para-events, Layla defied her tender age against older competitors, winning Silver Medals in the U/20 400m, U/20 800m and U/20 1500m.

As the current holder of multiple Australian athletic records, Layla put in strong back-to-back runs over three days of the Australian Championships, in spite of suffering with a cold on the final day of her events, which was the 800m.

“Great Australian Juniors finish for the year, against all of the people from the other states,” said Layla’s mother Sam.

“Her biggest achievement was the Australian Juniors, re-breaking her Australian records and she now sits in the record books with Paralympians Louise Sauvage, Isis Holt and Evan O’Hanlon, to name a few. There is also the Little Athletics Club record, which had previously been held by a mainstream athlete. Layla is a Vision Impaired athlete, yet broke the record, smashing it by 36 seconds. That was a great celebration heading into the NSW Juniors and Australian Juniors.

“Breaking Club records and then her own personal records has been a great finish to her Athletics season in a whole and that’s exactly how Layla puts it for this season.”

“I’m very happy with my performance at the Australian Athletic Championships, considering the wet and slippery conditions on the course,” said Layla.

“To manage to re-break 3 Australian records in my (T12) classification and get personal bests – I couldn’t have asked for much more.

“The current Australian T12 (Vision) records which are in my name are: 100M – Under 17 (I broke that record in State Little A’s competition in March 22), 200M – Under 17 (I broke that record in State Little A’s comp in March 22), 400m – Under 18 (This is the record I broke in the Australian Juniors and I’m hoping to achieve the Under 20 and the Australian Open Age record set in 1994); 800m – I broke my own Under 20 record at the Australian Juniors. (Hoping to achieve the Australian Open Age record, which was set in 1994) 1500m – Broke my own Australian record from last season in Australian Juniors. (Working towards the World record which stands at 4:19). In 3km, which I don’t do often, I hold the Australian Record. No idea of what the world record is as I don’t run the 3km often.

“Cross country season starts for me now and I have been training on trails since completing my Athletics season, which re-commences in September this year.

“I have participated in school cross country and finished 4th overall, with only 3 boys finishing in front out of 70 participants, who were all mainstream. I am through to next level and aiming for National level in Cross Country and my next event will be at the Equestrian.

“My training doesn’t change in the winter. It’s still twice a week, training with my squad ‘Runcrew’ with Ben St Lawrence. Aside from that, I do at least a 1km of swimming (cross training) and strengthening/conditioning sessions.”

It’s not all sport with Layla, who is an exceptionally bright student at Emmaus Catholic College. “I am in Year 9 and hold a big
interest in Copyright Law,” said Layla. “I’m interested in justice and change for the betterment of people. I’ve always had interest in justice for people.”