Francis on way in track career
FRANCIS Calleja makes the trip from Maryborough to Hervey Bay to do athletics training three times a week.
That dedication has paid off for the 14-year-old Aldridge State High School student.
Calleja, who has trained with renowned coach Rick MacDonald for almost a year now, ran a personal best on her way to winning a bronze medal in the under-14 400m final during the Queensland Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships in Brisbane.
Calleja’s time was 58.97secs.
That performance was impressive enough for her to qualify to run in the nationals in Sydney next March.
She also got selected to go on a Little Athletics development tour of New Zealand next year as well.
Calleja said she was so happy with winning a bronze medal.
“Winning it proved that I am capable of more than I expected,” Calleja, who also finished ninth in shot put, said.
“I finished seventh in the event 12 months ago, so I am feeling over the moon.
“Hopefully, I’ll keep on improving – gold or silver will be nice next year.”
Coach MacDonald said he was sure Calleja would continue to improve.
“She works so hard at training and she’s improving all the time,” he said.
“I am sure she’ll get better and better – she’s a good all-round athlete.”
However, Francis, whose dream it is to represent Australia in an Olympics one day, wasn’t the only member of her family in action in the titles.
Her 15-year-old brother Alek finished fifth in shot put and seventh in discus.
His throw in the shot was good enough for him also to qualify for the nationals.
MacDonald also had another young charge in action at the titles and she, like Francis Calleja, produced a PB – not one, but two.
Xavier Catholic College student Brook Willis finished fourth in the 15 years 1500m and fifth in the 3000m after two PBs.
Two other Xavier students, Christian Wilson and Carly Burch, were also on duty in the titles.
Wilson finished second in the 1500m and third in the 3000m while Burch finished in the top seven in her race.