ST Columba College student Benjamin Ridley has leapt onto the national athletics stage for the second time, qualifying for the upcoming Athletics Australia’s National Championships.
The all-rounder has qualified in the triple jump, long-jump, 100m and 200m events for the championships, to be held in Sydney later this month.
The 16-year-old said he is well into training, and is looking forward to travelling interstate.
“It is really exciting because it is my second nationals competition since All Schools (Australian All Schools Athletics Championships) in Adelaide, a couple of years ago,” Ridley said.
“It has been a couple of rough seasons, but I have come back strong and I am really excited to see what happens.”
The year 12 student has high expectations, with his qualifying figures some of his best to date.
“It was a really good feeling because not only did I get my PB (personal best) in the triple jump, but I was quite a way off the board which would have put me over 13 metres, which has been my season goal this year,” Ridley said.
“So now I know I can hit it.
“I will be looking for much higher than that, hopefully.”
Ridley said, while preparing for the competition is a major commitment, his passion for the sport pushes him to keep improving.
“It is a 45-minute drive to training because I train down at the Santos (Mile End) track,” he said.
“It is what I want to do so, of course, I am enjoying it, though.
“I am hoping to eventually be an Olympian, so it is a big goal to be getting to the Olympics, and the world champs, and things like that.”
Ridley’s journey to competitive athletics started at an early age, after initially making the decision to, first, completely focus on only running, and then, later, jumping.
“When I was eight I decided not to pursue cricket and instead pursue athletics and sprint, and it has changed into jumping as well,” he said.
“At the time I really loved cricket and I wanted to do cricket…but I also loved running, so I did ‘Little Aths’ (Little Athletics) and haven’t stopped since then.”