Caboolture kids bounce to Youth Comm Games

GOING FOR GOLD: Ben Schmidtchen has qualified for the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas.
GOING FOR GOLD: Ben Schmidtchen has qualified for the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas. Contributed

ATHLETICS: Ben Schmidtchen might be the most relaxed competitor heading to the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas in July, and with good reason.

He and Ella Connolly, from St Columban's College, are continuing the school's proud sporting history by being selected for the 23-strong team to represent Australia.

It's Schmidtchen's first time competing for his country, but speaking to the 17-year-old long jumper, you quickly get a sense that not much fazes him.

"When I get over there and before the comp, I might be a bit nervous, but I've never been a nervous competitor,” he said.

"It's not like a race; you're basically versing yourself, because there's no one jumping next to you.

"A lot of competitors take it very seriously. I kind of walk around and watch on and laugh with everyone else, but when I'm about three people before my jump, that's when I start to switch on.”

Schmidtchen was a national champion in high jump in his first year of competition before he switched to long jump, but wasn't doing too well.

He tried triple jump and broke the state record on his first jump, but there will be no triple jump at this meet, so he decided to go back to long jump.

"My old coach said I didn't really have much chance to go to the Bahamas (with long jump), so that drove me and motivated me,” Schmidtchen said.

He jumped 60cm further than his closest rival at the national titles to receive automatic qualification and place his third overall in the world.

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