Hard work paying off for Veitch

Ariki’s Shay Veitch has put out some exceptional performances at the Caledonian Ground this...
Ariki’s Shay Veitch has put out some exceptional performances at the Caledonian Ground this summer. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Shay Veitch knew big improvements were coming.

The 18-year-old Ariki athlete has strung together a run of incredible results at the Caledonian Ground in Dunedin over the past month.

Last Saturday he ran a lightning 10.77sec 100m, to go with a 21.63sec 200m - which was marginally wind-assisted.

He also put out a 7.19m long jump, while last month he clocked a 49.18sec 400m.

Those performances rate alongside the best by any Otago athlete in many years.

He had not expected to go so fast in the two shorter sprints.

After a hard winter of training, it was relief rather than pleasure that was his overriding feeling.

"I've been pretty much setting myself up for this all winter," he said.

"I haven't really stopped since last winter.

"It's not really surprising, more relieving.

"I've put my time into it and it's great to see the rewards."

Veitch has hardly taken the typical route to excellence either.

The year 13 John McGlashan College pupil only began athletics last year when he returned to New Zealand with his family.

He had spent much of his life living in China and Thailand, where his parents worked, and played football instead.

His jump of 7.11m - a mammoth 61cm personal best - in the long jump at last year's national secondary school championships won him an unexpected gold medal.

A successful summer and hard winter followed.

He remains self-coached - watching videos, talking to people and filming himself to see his technique.

That tended to consist of around 10 sessions per week.

"It's just more flexible to work around my school work.

"I take that quite seriously as well and I value that.

"It's just working around my own schedule."

Despite his rapid times in the two shorter sprints, it was his 400m and long jump that he felt had the most potential.

Those would be his two events at the national secondary schools championships.

While he had not yet proven himself in the 400m, he thought he was capable of going below 48sec.

Having added speed since last season, he hoped to push 7.50m in the long jump.

They would also be the events he would pursue if he achieved his goal of going to college to compete in the United States.

He will be in action today, in what he said was expected to be a fast sprint field, with runners coming from outside the city.

It will be an IAAF permit meeting and Athletics New Zealand CEO Peter Pfitzinger will be there.

Veitch will compete in the 100m and 200m.

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