BATHURST'S Evan Smith is already turning his attention towards the challenge of competing in a new age group after achieving his goal of a men's under 20s javelin podium finish at the recent Oceania Athletics Championships in Mackay.
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With Haddi El Shorbagy (67.00 metres) and Jack Greaves (60.64m) out in front battling for gold, Smith won a competitive battle for the remaining medal thanks to his throw of 47.52m, which he achieved on the last of his six throws.
The next four competitors in the rankings all finished within five metres of Smith's best effort.
It was a great way for Smith to round out his time in the under 20s age group, as he now prepares to spend the next three years testing himself in the under 23s division.
Smith retains his number one regional Australian ranking following the championships.
In the lead up to the championships Smith had expressed his joy at just being able to compete again - following both COVID-19 cancellations and a stress fracture injury in his back - so the third placing gave him extra satisfaction.
"I'm more than happy with my result. I didn't quite get the distance that I wanted, but even if I did reach that distance I still would have finished in third so I'm still pretty happy," he said.
"I was looking for that third place but also something in the higher 50s. In practice I've reached that distance before, just not in competition.
"I think it just wasn't the day for me. I felt that I was doing everything that I was meant to do, but with the rain we've had recently I wasn't able to go to training as much as I wanted to, but it was still a great experience."
Smith managed to get six clean throws across the course of the competition.
His first effort of 46.00m wouldn't be matched by anyone except the gold and silver medal winners.
He added another two centimetres to that best throw with his penultimate effort before producing his top throw to round out the competition.
The result gives Smith confidence ahead of his step into a new age group next season.
"The next thing for me will probably be the Country Championships at the start of next year so it's about bulking up until then and have a bit of a breather," he said.
"I'm 19 and this is my last year in under 20s, so next year's it's on to under 23s. I'll be doing a little more gym work, giving myself a better diet and getting some more discipline into my training.
"I'm a little behind where I wanted to be, mostly due to injuries from previous years, so I'm just looking for a bit of extra motivation before I get back into it at the start of next year."
Bathurst's Aaron Houston was also in action at the Oceania Athletics Championships, competing in the under 20s 1,500 metres and 5,000m track events.
Houston ran a 4:29.25 for the 1,500m to finish in fifth while his time of 16:48.87 had him fourth.
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