Alex Burrage proudly shows off the medals which he won at the national AWD Athletics titles.
Alex Burrage proudly shows off the medals which he won at the national AWD Athletics titles. Vince Habermann

Three medals put Alex in focus

A FEW months ago, Alex Burrage had never run competitively, but his star continues to rise rapidly after he bagged three bronze medals at the Australian AWD Athletics Championships at the weekend.

The Kepnock State High School Year 10 student was in awe when he walked onto the athletics track at Sydney Olympic Park to compete as a member of the Queensland team.

He had three events on Saturday, picking up the bronze medal in the under-16 male 400m, then also collecting bronze in the 800m, but having to settle for fourth in the 100m, the event he usually does best in, but he was "pretty tired" at the end of a long day.

Burrage backed up on Sunday to also snare bronze in the 200m.

A T20 classification athlete, Burrage crossed the line in second place in the 200m, beaten a matter of centimetres, but after times for each competitor went analysed against their level of disability, he was awarded third, but he was still delighted with his medal haul.

"There were a lot of people there, and they were all cheering, and the competition was very strong, and it was just awesome," Burrage said.

What made his achievement even more remarkable was that it was only his third competition ever.

Burrage had far exceeded his expectations at his first state carnival, the School Sport Queensland Track and Field Championships, three weeks earlier, picking up silver in the AWD boy's 15 years 200m and bronze in the 100m and 400m.

After his state success, Burrage joined the West Bundaberg Little Athletics Centre and he had his first club competition night two weeks ago, before training with the club three days later in preparation for the nationals.

He was accompanied to Sydney by his proud father Neil, who was amazed by how far he has come in such a short time.

"It was great to see what he has done, and he wants to head to the Paralympics, down the track," Neil said.

His mother Vicki was forced to stay at home but she kept in regular contact by phone and she too was delighted for him.

"We thought Alex was just going down for experience, but when I got the calls, that it was one, then two, then three medals, it was just wow," Vicki said.

"Alex is about to get into the strict regime of training and who knows what he could achieve in coming years - he has always been very determined and tries very hard."

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