The Bolt of Bega

Bega sprint star Lawrence Davis (second from right) has broken a 25-year-old regional record, set by a former Olympian.
Bega sprint star Lawrence Davis (second from right) has broken a 25-year-old regional record, set by a former Olympian.

COULD Bega be home to the next Usain Bolt?

Lawrence Davis certainly hopes so.

The 13-year-old rising athletics star added some fresh credentials to his growing resume last Friday, blowing away the competition to be crowned champion in three events at the South Coast School Sports Association Secondary Athletics Championships.

He was the undisputed king of the Australian Institute of Sport track, taking home the title in both the 100m and 200m events.

And much like his Jamaican superstar hero, Lawrence wasn’t content with just winning.

Clocking a lightning quick 11.72 seconds in the 100m, he shattered the age group record that was set in 1989, by none other than former Australian Olympic hurdler Matt Beckenham.

“It’s a fantastic effort,” South Coast sports coordination officer Mark Hume said.

“Lawrence is a very talented kid; that record has stood for 25 years, which is an indication of how good the time is.

“Matt Beckenham competed in the Sydney Olympics, so anyone who beats his record is quick.”

After bettering a young Beckhenham’s blisteting 11.75 in the 100m, there’s no doubt Lawrence has the speed.

But has he got a celebration to rival the famous lightning bolt?

“Not just yet,” his mother, Melinda Avison, laughed.

“But he wants to be the next Usain Bolt, and he’s always saying that.

“I’m so proud of him, especially because of the effort he gives it.

“He puts in all the hard yards, so he deserves the results.”

Making the achievement even more remarkable, Lawrence only took up sprinting four years ago.

Originally trained by local coach Kel Jamieson, he now travels to Canberra once a month to work with Phil Alchin.

“He’s been running for about four years, but he’s been very competitive for the last three,” Melinda said.

“When I saw how much he was improving, I knew I had to get him a professional coach.

“They’re nearly all based in Canberra, so he goes up there once a month on a Sunday and does two sessions, and when he’s down here I coach him.

“We video his sessions and send the footage to his coach in Canberra, and I’m actually training to be a coach at the moment.”

The track isn’t Lawrence’s only playground.

He’s equally adept in the sand, and also won the title of the South Coast’s best 13-year-old long jumper at the championships.

Melinda said if not for the support of a local business, Lawrence may have missed out on competing.

“I’d like to say a massive thanks to Momsen Motors,” she said.

“They paid for all our fuel for the trip up there and back.

“If it wasn’t for that, we wouldn’t have been able to get there, so we’re very grateful to them.”


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