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Proud moment . . . Waimate High School pupil Thomas Fletcher holds the bronze medal he won at the DownUnder athletics event in Australia. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

Waimate High School pupil Thomas Fletcher (16) made the most of a trip to Australia in the holidays.

Fletcher returned from the DownUnder athletics event in Queensland with a bronze medal around his neck.

He was one of about 40 athletes in the New Zealand team, and was one of the busiest, competing in the triple jump, long jump, sprints, and relay events.

Fletcher was proud to get on the podium in the triple jump.

“I was so happy,” he said.

“It’s always good to get something to show for your competitions. It’s all about motivating yourself to do well at these events.”

Fletcher was chosen to represent New Zealand after winning gold in the triple jump at the Canterbury championships earlier this year.

“I thought it was a good opportunity. I didn’t want to turn anything like that down.”

He first found his passion for athletics when he was in year 9.

“I really started enjoying it when I moved from the sprinting side into the jumping side.”

The hardest part about athletics was the intense training required to prepare for a competition, he said.

“The competition is the easy part of it, really.

“As soon as you jump your personal best or you out-do yourself – that’s when the real satisfaction comes in.”

Waimate High School principal Jeanette Packman was also pleased with Fletcher’s efforts in Australia.

“This is just fantastic – we’re really proud,” she said.

Fletcher hopes to get another opportunity to compete at the DownUnder championships next year.