DEDICATION reaps rewards, and none more so than that of champion javelin thrower Matt Rees who makes a return 340-kilometre trip from his home in Weston in the Hunter to Sylvania for training at least once a fortnight.
Under the tutelage of veteran St George coach Ray Russell, Matt has fine-tuned his throwing skills, edging on the 60-metre mark.
The move has paid off. Matt remains undefeated in various competitions, including an Australian youth title and NSW wins in the under-14, 15 and 16 age groups.
His dad Neil makes the 2-hour drive every second Wednesday, when Matt skips school sport to work on his throwing.
‘‘It’s a pretty good afternoon.’’ Neil said.
‘‘He has a computer and does a bit of his homework in the car. He just loves it.’’
Russell and Matt, 15, linked up while the StGeorge mentor was coaching at an international event in Canada two years ago.
The two clicked, with Matt wanting to make the club his base.
Russell said Matt was the best male competitor he had coached during his 15 years as a throwing coach, including stints at a national level.
‘‘The most important part of javelin is the arm speed and he certainly has that,’’ Russell said. ‘‘He has a very fast arm and is very dedicated and keen.
‘‘That’s half the battle. He also picks things up very quickly, sometimes with throwers you’re talking to them about the same thing six months later but he is a quick learner.’’
Matt won the national title by almost six metres, throwing 56.21 metres. He has passed 60 metres training but is yet to reach that in competition. His personal best is 58metres.
‘‘I expect him to make the Olympics Games in eight years,’’ Russell said.
‘‘I expect him to represent Australia at various youth teams in the next couple of years.’’
Matt will next compete at the NSW Youth festival in February before looking to win another national title.
St George clubmates Grace Robinson and Pita Toamotu also won state titles at the NSW all schools track and field championship, in discus and shot put, respectively.
Matt Rees has remained undefeated in javelin, winning;
- NSW titles in under-14, under-15 and under-16
- Australian youth festival
- NSW-All Schools
- NSW Little Athletics including record throw