Passion burns for Craig

Eungella’s Craig Burns will compete in the athletic selection trials for the London Olympics, although he cannot make the final team.
Eungella’s Craig Burns will compete in the athletic selection trials for the London Olympics, although he cannot make the final team. Contributed

CRAIG Burns' athletic career has come a long way since he was a young boy trying to race the school bus down the street.

Burns, who hails from Eungella, will compete at the London selection trials in Melbourne this weekend.

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While he is not eligible to make this year's Australian team, he hopes the experience will put him in good stead for future Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

As a student at Eungella Sate Primary School, Craig was often seen racing around the school grounds.

After moving to Brisbane to board at the Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie), Burns continued sprinting and was part of the Churchie athletics team.

It was while training at the University of Queensland athletics track for a school competition that Burns got an opportunity that would change everything.

Geoff McKinnon, who has mentored Australian representatives, approached Burns and asked him if he was interested in training.

Since that first conversation with McKinnon just weeks before he completed his Year 12 studies, Burns, now 23, has been training and competing in Brisbane in a handful of different athletic events.

Now training under coach Annette Rice, Burns' main events are the 200m and 400m sprints.

Craig's personal best time in the 200m of 20.97 seconds automatically qualified him to race at the selection trials in Melbourne.

"I want to race in Melbourne for the experience that it can provide me.

"It'll be like a training session only with a much faster group of competitors.

"The trick is to run my own race," he said.

The Olympic qualifying time for the 200m is 20.5 seconds and to qualify, athletes also needed to attend a number of important competitions throughout the athletic season.

This rules Craig out from making the team.

"Despite knowing that Olympic selection is out my reach this year it is really exciting to be running," he said.

Craig has his targets set for the Australian National Championships in Melbourne later this year.

"I'm not sure what will happen but I know that I will keep training and stay committed to what I want - to win gold for Australia, and for me, at the Olympic or Commonwealth Games.

Topics:  athletics london olympics

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