Athletcs: James sets sights on world juniors qualifier

PRIMED: Ben James (left) after winning silver in the decathlon at the Australian under-20s combined events titles last weekend.
PRIMED: Ben James (left) after winning silver in the decathlon at the Australian under-20s combined events titles last weekend.

BUOYED by a silver medal in the decathlon at the Australian under-20 combined event championships, Ben James hopes to go one better at the NSW Junior titles - at stake could be place at the World Championships in Kenya.

James, from Cessnock, will compete in the high jump, long jump, triple jump and pole vault at Homebush this weekend. The decathlon is not being held.

"I going in there confident that I can do what needs to be done," James said. "If I jump near my best, I should be in contention for a medal. I'm hoping to qualify for the world juniors either this weekend or at the nationals."

The world junior championships are being held in Nairobi from July 7-12.

James was first in the high jump and long jump in the decathlon and those two events are his best chance at qualifying for the worlds.

He has a personal best of 2.02 metres in the high jump, 7.12m in the long jump, 14.15m in the triple and 3.90m in the pole vault.

"After last weekend, I have freshened up this week and hope to reach or better those marks," he said.

James tallied 6936 points in finishing second in the decathlon in Brisbane last weekend - just short of the 7100 points needed to compete at the worlds.

It was only the second decathlon the personal trainer has competed in. He won the under-20s decathlon at the NSW combined titles in Sydney with 6414 points - points are allocated on times and distances in the various track and field events.

"I still have a fair bit of work to do on the throws," James said. "I'm two metres to 10 metres off where I need to be."

Long-term goals are the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

"Ultimately that's the goal," he said. "I have mapped out a program with that in mind. At the moment I am training up to 14 times a week across the various disciplines."