ROSIE’S GOLDEN CHASE

SHOALHAVEN Heads’ Rosie-May Davidson does not shy away from a 

challenge.

When it comes to running the 15-year-old has chosen one of the most unusual yet gruelling specialities, the steeple chase, but she continues to jump to new heights in the sport.

Davidson has just returned with gold from the Australian Junior Athletics Championships after she took out the two kilometre steeple chase in the under 18 girls’ division.

Despite an almost guaranteed gold in the under 17s based off qualifying times, Davidson elected to race in the older and more competitive under 18s.

“I really wanted a PB, so my goal was just to get my time down,” she said.

“I knew if I ran up then I would be against older girls who run close to or in front of my time, so I figured that if I ran with them then I would get a better time.

“If I medalled bronze then I would have been happy with a medal as there were three other girls who were really close and qualified within three seconds of each other.”

One of those girls was Western Australia’s Tarinah Nazaroff, who has never been beaten and is renowned for her powerful and fast finish.

From the starting gun Davidson settled into second place and the leader, NSW’s Georgia Winkup, was 40 metres in front with three laps to go.

Nazaroff set out to catch the leader, Davidson followed and Nazaroff caught Winkup with 600 metres to go. 

Davidson passed Winkup to move into second place.

Nazaroff was 1.5 seconds in front of Davidson with one lap to go, and with 200 metres, left she was still 15 metres in front. 

“I wasn’t actually even looking at Tarinah. I was more thinking of keeping Georgia behind me,” Davidson said. 

AT the last water jump Nazaroff was 10 metres in front but by the final hurdle Rosie caught her and they jumped the hurdle together.

“The last water jump was really hard, but I heard dad yell out ‘you’re in there Rosie’, and I thought that if I am that close then I’d better give it a good go,” Davidson said.

Due to sheer exhaustion, Davidson’s last hurdle was not as clean as usual and she fell one metre behind.

With less than 70 metres to go Davidson dug deep and caught Nazaroff to take the win by 0.14 of a second.

“I kind of fell over and thought ‘thank god’,” Davidson said.

Both girls ran PBs, Davidson by four seconds and Nazaroff by one second.

The other NSW competitor Beth Croft finished third, with Winkup in fourth.

Davidson also competed in the under 17 girls 1500 metres on Sunday, where she finished seventh in an extremely close finish. 

The Nowra Anglican College student has only been competing in steeple chase for 15 months.

“I had a go at the club (Illawarra Blue Stars) and enjoyed it so I competed at state last year and qualified for nationals, so I thought I would give nationals a go,” she said.

Davidson went on to take out the national gold in 2013, and in the lead-up to the 2014 nationals, she broke the under 17 girls state record.

She then won the 2014 NSW All Schools steeple chase by about 30 seconds and won the NSW Junior Athletics Championships by about seven seconds.    

With her summer athletics season now over, Davidson will turn her attention to cross country.

But the steeple chase will not be far from her mind, with Davidson hoping to qualify for the World Youth Championships in 2015.

Davidson thanked her coach Jim Downes, her family and the other competitors. 

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