Davidson, Kirk, London bound for world championships

09 Jun 2017

TWO outstanding SASI athletes, Brayden Davidson and Daniel Kirk, will be donning the green and gold colours of Australia when they compete at the World Para Athletic Championships in London between July 14 and 23.

Brayden, 19, is an old hand at big events. He is about to contest his third world titles and has the successful Rio Paralympics campaign under his belt.

This year has been up-and-down for Brayden with a couple of niggling injuries and a battle to get his mindset fresh to meet qualifying marks.

But the Gold Coast qualifying event proved just the venue to pull out his best.

"Before the Gold Coast I was struggling a bit but when I got up there I don't know if it was the weather or change of scenery or that I had been putting too much pressure on but everything felt right,'' he said.

"The official A qualifier (long jump) was 5.62m but with my fifth jump I was able to make 5.66 and then I jumped 5.70 to finish with. I am really happy to make the team. Now it is about training hard and making sure I am right when the team goes away.''

A bonus for Brayden (pictured) is that he will be competing in the 100m after his main event. ''I would be more than happy to make the 100m final although you only get one chance, not like the jumps where you get six attempts. I really appreciate having the chance to run the event.''

For Daniel Kirk, 35, making his debut in the Australian team was a thrill.

A serious and permanent ankle injury late in his football career saw Daniel take up para sports, advancing quickly to the top level.

At a world qualifying meeting last week Daniel threw 51.68m, 10cm short of Michael Raison's Australian record, and beyond the Australian team qualifier of 50.39m.

''This is huge for me,'' he said. ''It's a fine line between making the team and missing a team like what happened with the Rio Games.

''The big goal is Tokyo but this world championships is super important for me. I am ranked in the top five at the moment in discus in my event so I know roughly where I stand.

''For now it is five weeks of training and maintaining strength. I have been developing in the sport as I have only been involved for less than two and a half years.

''I learned a lot from my (SANFL) playing days (Glenelg, Woodville West Torrens) which I have taken on board in my sport now.

''I had a few setbacks this year with injury (elbow) and illness (viral) and came into last week's qualifier with only 19 days of full training. With those setbacks I have the confidence to know I can do better with a full preparation.

''You work on the areas you need to and my aim is to build up to about 110 to 115kg and to get as strong as a brute.

''All the help I have had along the way including SASI which has been unbelievable and so supportive is much appreciated.''

Daniel also will compete in the shot put in London after his discus program is finished.

Daniel has a busy workload off the track as a strength and conditioning coach at the  Australian College of Sport and TAFE SA lecturer and a member of the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy, among other pursuits including his business.

Former SA athlete Michael Roeger, now based in Canberra, also made the 37-strong Australian team.

The world titles are expected to attract about 1300 athletes vying for 213 medals.

Long jump

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