ONE year ago, the last thing on 17-year-old hurdler Thomas Throssell’s mind was representing his country at an overseas competition.
Yet that was the exact situation he found himself in not once, but twice in the past seven months.
The Cannington resident travelled to Vanuatu for the Melanesian Championships in May and returned with gold in the 400m hurdles, before he earned an invite to the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires in October.
It has been a somewhat meteoric rise for the Trinity College student, who admitted he could not have seen this coming this time last year.
“Last year I was really far off qualifying and wasn’t really in the picture, but then I had a race where I came 0.04 seconds off qualifying,” he said.
“I’d been putting the work in at training, I was a second off and wasn’t really thinking about it, but then it just clicked and I had this one race where I ran so much better and that race flipped my whole mindset.
“I still trained with the same intensity, but it just showed me it was possible.”
However, the UWA Athletics star was hit by adversity just before he reached Argentina, when a 9cm tear in his hamstring sustained in the lead up threatened to derail his competition.
“10 minutes before I was supposed to go into the call room, I still wasn’t sure if I was going to run or not,” Throssell said.
Fortunately, he did end up taking to the start line, finishing 7th overall and clocking a 53.27sec run.
The time was just over a second off his personal best, but Throssell said he was grateful for the chance to test himself against some elite runners.
“Against all these other athletes I’d seen online, to actually be around them and know they were real was pretty incredible,” he said.
“I was trying to keep my nerves under control and when I walked out on the track it all came right back up.
“I just had to push them aside and focus on this is what I’d been training for.”