BATLOW athlete Jack Gould has made a triumphant return to major competition with a first place in the open 800m at the NSW Country Athletics Championships in Wollongong on Sunday.
It was his first major event since hip surgery put his running career on hold in 2020, and he was there competing with his Dad Jamie and brothers Riley and Jaymin.
He came home first in the 800m with a time of 1 minute 55 seconds, one second off his personal best and three seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
He said he felt “pretty nervous” competing in his first major race since his surgery.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said.
“I was trying not to put too much pressure on myself.”
Much of the potential for this pressure came from the fact that he has won the 800m at these championships five times, including four times in a row.
His success was a joy and a relief.
“I was really happy with my time,” he said.
In preparation, he competed in some races in Canberra in December, finishing second in 400m and 800m, and this allowed him to get some confidence back.
He will now compete at the NSW Athletics Championships in Sydney in March, and then hopefully the National Championships.
“I need to go a second quicker to qualify for the nationals,” he said.
The 800m is his favourite event, but he also competed in the 400m on the weekend, finishing fifth in a time of 51.09 seconds.
On Saturday, his dad Jamie won his first ever medal, a bronze in the 400m in the 50-59 age division, with a personal best time of 1.047. Riley competed in the under 20s 400m on Saturday, finishing seventh in a time of 54.82 seconds, while Jaymin achieved a personal best time of 55.65 in the under 17s 400m.
On Sunday, Jamie got a personal best time of 2.29.35 and another bronze medal in the 800m.
Jaymin got a personal best time of 2.6.53 and his first-ever medal, a bronze, in the 800m on Sunday, taking an amazing 40 seconds off his previous personal best. Riley competed in the 800m and achieved a time of 2.04.45.