Chance McKenna is a natural skating talent

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2012
Chance McKenna
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ

WELL NAMED: Australian speed skater Chance McKenna has plenty of strings to his sporting bow and made his first start in Timaru a golden one.

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Australia produces plenty of sporting talent and Chance McKenna could be one to watch.

The 13-year-old is in Timaru as part of the Australian team at the Oceania Invitational Speed Skating Championships and opened his account with gold in the 300m cadet time trial and backed it up witha win in the 1000m boys' cadet final yesterday.

Inline skating is not however his only sport. McKenna is also in the development squad for the Canberra Raiders rugby league side, after being spotted in Brisbane playing for his club, South Sunnybank Magpies.

As a cadet he practices a couple of times a month with others in the squad in Brisbane, learning techniques and drills, often with someone from Canberra's coaching staff in attendance and sometimes with the NRL players.

The right side centre will know after three years in the squad whether his contract will be extended.

At 1.86m, McKenna plays at centre for his club and enjoys the hard-running aspect to the game out wide.

"If I make the next step [it] would be to play for the Raiders feeder club, South Logan, in Brisbane." League and athletics are his first loves in sport, but he is also handy at swimming, lifesaving and plays rugby union for his school, Brisbane Grammar.

McKenna said in track and field he enjoyed shot, discus and the 200m, with the first two coming fairly easily. "I have to work on my sprints a bit." His personal best over 100m is 11.9sec, which he hopes to improve on over the next couple of years and will be a real asset on the football field.

With all that talent, a minor sport like speed skating may appear the odd one out, but McKenna has a simple answer to how it all started.

"I strapped on my big sister's skates and rolled up and down the hall but was breaking [too many things], so mum and dad found me a club."

McKenna added a bronze medal to his gold on the opening day in the 10,000m, which is not his specialty, preferring the shorter distances and sprints.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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