Small school athletes headed to​ Olympic Park state championships

Tanja Public School mixed relay team members Rochelle Jenson, Janu Porter, Finn Bjaro and Otis Waratah ahead of the NSW Primary Schools Sports Association Athletics Championships at Olympic Park in Sydney in October. Picture: Alasdair McDonald
Tanja Public School mixed relay team members Rochelle Jenson, Janu Porter, Finn Bjaro and Otis Waratah ahead of the NSW Primary Schools Sports Association Athletics Championships at Olympic Park in Sydney in October. Picture: Alasdair McDonald

Four kids from Tanja are heading to the Sydney International Athletics Centre running track at Olympic Park in Homebush.

Year 4 pupil Janu Porter, Year 5 pupil Otis Waratah and Year 6 pupils Finn Bajaro and Rachelle Jenson make up the school’s mixed 4x100m relay team.

"The pressure is not so much on you in the relay, because you’re relying on the whole team."

Rochelle Jenson

In a school of just 18 pupils, the relay team makes up just under a quarter of the school, and all four are excited ahead of the NSW Primary Schools Sports Association Athletics Championships on October 19.

To qualify for the single-teacher school race, the squad ran a qualifying time at the Zone competition, and finished second behind Penrose Public School, North West of Nowra, at the recent Regional competition.

The squad has different tactics for the sprint race, and are excited to travel to Sydney for the two days of competition.

“Before the race I think about how I really want to win, which makes me run faster,’ Janu said.

“I heard if you move your arms faster your legs go faster,” Otis said.

Meanwhile for Finn, the key is to “stay on the balls of your feet.”

Rochelle said she enjoys running the relay because the pressure of the race is split between squad members.

“The pressure is not so much on you in the relay, because you’re relying on the whole team,” she said.

“I used to hate sport when I was little, but after doing athletics in Year 2 I came second in the 100m, went to Zone and really enjoyed it.”

While the squad think they are in with a chance of taking gold, they will need to get through their heat and semi final to qualify for the final.