Congratulations to former Little Athlete Brandon Starc who will be inducted into this year’s Roll of Excellence in the Track & Field Category.
Brandon was a member of the Parramatta Little Athletics Centre in Sydney for 7 years, from the 2004/2005 season when he registered as an U11, through until he finished as an U17 in the 2010/2011 season.
He qualified through to the Little Athletics NSW State Championships in his second year as a member, finishing 4th in the U12 high jump in 2006, with a jump of 1.50m.
He added 19cm to that result the next season, finishing 2nd in the U13 high jump in 2007. As an U13 Brandon also qualified to the State Championships in the 80m Hurdles, making the final and finishing 8th.
As an U14 in 2008, Brandon again finished 4th in the high jump, this time with a jump of 1.80m. He again qualified to the final of the 90m hurdles and again finished in 8th place.
2009 was not a great year for Brandon, and as an U15 his region and state performances went backwards, with him failing to clear 1.70m on either occasion.
At this point Brandon decided that he wanted to take the sport a little more seriously and he began training in earnest for the high jump event. In 2010, he returned with a vengeance, clearing the bar at 2.05m at the Region Championships, setting a new Little Athletics NSW U17 State Record. At the 2010 State Championships he cemented the record a little further, this time recording a height of 2.10m. This was 50cm higher than his performance the previous year! This record still stands in 2019.
Later that same year, whilst still 16 years of age, Brandon won a silver medal at the inaugural 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore with a 9cm personal best of 2.19m.
Brandon was on his way, and although he registered as a Little Athlete in the following season (2010/2011), he did not participate in the 2011 State Championships.
In his international debut at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, Brandon Starc won a silver medal with a PB of 2.19m.
Brandon won his first National Senior Athletics Championships title in 2012 with 2.28m, and was a finalist at the 2012 World Junior Athletics Championships in Barcelona, finishing in sixth place.
Brandon made his senior international debut in 2013 at the World Championships in Moscow, becoming the first Australian since 1992 Olympic Games bronze medalist Tim Forsyth to compete in the high jump at a major championship. At the World Championships, Brandon only managed to clear 2.17m, but achieved his personal best of 2.28m that year at an event in Japan.
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, Brandon qualified for the high jump final and finished in eight pace with a jump of 2.21m.
A great year in 2015 when domestically he raised his PB to 2.30m, before producing a personal best of 2.13m with his first attempt in the qualification round of the mens high jump at the World Championships in Beijing. This time, Brandon became the first Australian to contest the mens high jump final at the World Championships since Tim Forsyth won bronze in Athens in 1997. He finished 12th in the final.
In 2016 Brandon was selected for the Rio Olympics where he was excellent, clearing 2.29m in the qualifying round to progress to the final where he placed 15th.
Limited competition in 2017, due to a shin injury, left Brandon short of a qualifier for the London 2017 World Championships.
At the 2018 National Championships and all-important Commonwealth Games rials, Brandon competed well, winning his third open national title, clearing 2.28m on his third attempt and recording his best height since the Rio Olympics.
At the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Brandon Starc was brilliant. He set a new PB of 2.32m, clearing the bar on his first attempt to win the gold medal. This jump moved Brandon to equal second on the Australian all-time list, with only Tim Forsyth, the national record holder with 2.36m, having jumped higher.
In July 2018, Brandon embarked on a sensational three-month European campaign where he set another new personal best of 2.33m to win the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham. He then went on to set a third personal best for the year, when he equaled the Australian and Oceania high jump records of 2.36m (set by Tim Forsyth in 1997) in winning the prestigious annual Eberstadt Internationales Hochsprung (high jump only) meeting, in Germany. Five days later, Brandon won the IAAF Diamond League Final in Brussels, clearing 2.33m. He rounded off his 2018 European-summer campaign with a second-place leap of 2.30m in the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava.
Brandon competed for nine months straight during the 2018 and achieved:
These performances see Brandon currently sitting in the number 1 ranking position for the mens high jump.
Brandon often gives his time to help inspire and help young athletes, be that attending Little Athletics NSW events are accepting invitations from Little Athletics Centres. During the 2017/2018 season he even coached high jump on a weekly basis at The Ponds Little Athletics Centre in Sydney.
Below is an exceprt from the Parramatta Advertiser in December 2018, covered a visit by Brandon to his former Little Athletics centre to ‘officially open’ their new high jump mats. In the article Brandon reflects on his time in Little Athletics –
He may be a Commonwealth Games high jump gold medalist these days, but through all that success Brandon Starc hasn’t forgotten his roots at Parramatta Little Athletics.
“I have quite a lot of memories from little athletics, this is where all the good times happened,”
Starc said. “It kick started my love for the sport and its good to see a lot of people still coming.”
Returning to the club as a Commonwealth champion following his success on the Gold Coast in April, Starc said seeing the looks on children’s faces as they stood where he did just a few years ago was pretty surreal…”
As most people know, Brandon is the brother of fast bowler and Little Athletics Roll of Excellence inductee, Mitchell Starc. Fortunately for the sport of athletics, Brandon made a choice between cricket and athletics while in his teens at Little Athletics. In this article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Brandon’s mother Julie said:
“They both placed cricket, though, and Brandon was doing well at athletics. When he was about 14, Brandon was picked for a rep cricket team and was told to make a choice between cricket and aths, because a carnival they were to place in clashed with athletics. He chose athletics.
“He made the decision and it was the right choice for Brandon. He was a bowler as well, he was quite quick, he was pretty handy,” Julie said
The 2019 Coles Little Athletics Australia Roll of Excellence will be held on the 19th October 2019 at Aloft Hotel Perth, Rooftop Ballroom with host Melinda Gainsford Taylor.
The function and dinner will induct new members into the Coles Little Athletics Australia Roll of Excellence under the following categories –
|1. Track and Field||Former Little Athletes who have represented Australia in athletics|
|2. Sportsperson||Former Little Athletes who have competed at the highest level in Sport|
|3. Achievers||Former Little Athletes who have achieved in a non-sport related discipline|
|4. Volunteers||Any person (outside those eligible above) and/or families who have made an outstanding contribution to Little Athletics in Australia.|
|5. Official of the Year||Regularly participates at Association/State Competitions, contributes positively to the overall moral of the official’s fraternity|
Its going to be a fantastic night, purchase your tickets here today!