Jonathon hopes to take success in his stride
Timaru's talented walker Jonathon Lord is set to take on Australia's best after being selected for New Zealand.
Lord will compete in Oceania Race Walking Trophy in Hobart in February.
New Zealand is also sending a girls' relay team to the event, but the talent in the boys' is a little thinner with Lord the boy at the standard needed to be competitive.
It will be the second time the 17-year-old has represented his country after racing in Sydney earlier this year.
Lord has been walking seriously for five years and is following in his older brother Daniel's footsteps.
Daniel also represented New Zealand before giving the sport away, but it is his senior 3000m track walk record Jonathon is hoping to break at the New Zealand Secondary Schools' Athletic Championships this weekend.
The junior Lord will need to improve his personal best around 17 seconds but is confident he has it in him.
Regardless of the record he is odds on favourite to retain his senior crown.
Lord will finish at Timaru Boys' High School soon, but intends to stay in Timaru so he can concentrate on walking. His ultimate goal is to represent New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Lord said he knew there were some improvements he can make. "Once your style is sorted their are still things to work on," he said.
He is attempting to increase the length of his stride to improve his speed.
"You need to be careful to keep your knees locked so you don't run."
Lord is focused solely on walking and has trained six times a week, inbetween exams in the buildup to the championships. Lord hopes one day to challenge Quentin Rew as the country's best race walker.
- South Canterbury