THE 2024 Olympic Games is the ultimate goal for talented athlete Dylan James, but there are more pressing matters in his immediate focus.
The 15-year-old Butler resident is the best of the WA under-16s in long jump, triple jump and high jump after winning gold in each event at the state championships.
In the national under-15s last year, he claimed silver in high jump and bronze in triple jump.
James considers his national silver medal his biggest achievement to date.
His next major step is qualification in the Australian team for the Oceania Athletics Area Championships in 2018.
Beyond the Oceania meet, he hopes to represent the nation at the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2021.
By then, he’ll have a strong idea of his chances for Olympic selection three years later in Los Angeles or Paris.
He trains under two coaches; renowned high jump mentor Nenad Peisker and former national athlete Louise Rao in long and triple jump.
“With both their help in coaching and mentoring, they have helped me to improve my technique to the level I am now,” he said.
James showed a natural ability for the jump disciplines from a young age. He discovered his enjoyment of them in primary school.
“In Year 4 at East Butler Primary School, I won the long jump and got the school record so mum and dad decided to sign me up for a season of Little Athletics with Ridgewood Little Athletics Centre,” he said.
“That same year I won long jump, high jump and came third in triple jump at our centre championships.”
James has dominated at the local level, becoming the first Ridgewood centre junior athlete to land a triple jump attempt of more than 13m, a result that handed him the under-15, under-16 and under-17 records.
The teenager’s talent has earned him a nomination in Community Newspaper Group’s Junior Sports Star Awards.