POLE vaulter Luke Hallett is stoked about being able to leap at Sarina.
Hallett was the first to try out the Sarina Athletics Club’s new $100,000 pole vaulting facility at O’Grady’s Oval, the culmination of a three-year project which was achieved through grants from the Community Benefit Fund, the Mackay Regional Council and sponsorship from Sarina Bendigo Bank.
Hallett is now studying at Canberra in the Australian Defence Force Academy, but was delighted to be able to return to Mackay and try out the pole vault while his father Paul, a pole vaulting coach, watched on.
“I was leaping about 3.8 metres at Sarina the other day, my personal best is 4.2 metres,” he said.
“Olympians can go about 5.5 to 6m, I think (Australian champion) Steve Hooker can do high 5s or even 6.”
Hallett represented Queensland at a national school level in pole vaulting and decathlon, and said it was wonderful that a small town like Sarina could provide such a facility.
“Sarina is the only place that has the enthusiasm,” he said.
“What they have there is excellent. It’s all international standard.
“Townsville has pole vaulting facilities but I’m not sure that many do it. At Sarina, there were about four young people who were keen.”
President Ruth Cliffe said the club was keen to encourage more high school-aged students to try the sport.
“We hope it will encourage interest in athletics in Sarina,” she said.
“We started the project in 2009 and it’s still ongoing.
“The shed we have is not big enough to fit the front of the vault mats under, so we are going to have to apply for another grant.”
It is believed Sarina’s is the only pole vaulting facility between Townsville and the Sunshine Coast.
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