Broulee's Jaylah Hancock-Cameron has just returned from Vanuatu having quietly achieved athletic brilliance at the Oceania Athletics Championships.
Scheduled to race in both the 1500m and 800m she has achieved a Gold in her signature 1500m race and a Silver in the 800m coming in just behind 18 year old Keely Small, who is number one in the world for her age group and comes fresh from the Commonwealth Games. The first race of the Oceania event was the 1500m. Jaylah's win, in the hot, humid and windy conditions of Vanuatu, was far from easy. Adding to this was the considerable lead she had gained over the field with her supporters knowing that leading from front to attain the PB time she wanted would be no easy feat. In the lead up to the 1500m race Jaylah's coach, Andae Kalemusic, took time to work through lap splits and walked through race plan. The preparation payed off and Jaylah did the unimaginable. Not only did she achieve Gold she also achieved another essential Olympic youth qualifier, and broke the meet record by a massive 11 seconds and ran a solo 4:21.82 to win the U18 1500m The 800m on the following day was never going to be easy as it pegged Jaylah, aged 15, running against the very talented world number 1 Under 18's, Keely Small. And Keely was in excellent race form having just prepared and participated at the Commonwealth Games. But race Jaylah did, and put in a gutsy effort coming home just a few seconds behind Keely.
Above: Jaylah with her Silver beside World # 1 Keely Small receiving her Gold at the Oceania meet in Vanuatu The Oceania event for Jaylah was however more than the well deserved Gold and Silver medals. Jaylah also returned with her second qualifying time required to stand for selection to represent Australia at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina to be held in Buenos Aires on 1-6 Oct 2018. Now qualified it will be up to the selectors as to whether Jaylah will compete. Youth Olympic Games athletes must be between 15 and 18 years old on 31 December 2018 and Jaylah has well proven she is one of our best. This however has not happened overnight - there has been grit, determination and a commitment and passion that can only be found of an elite athlete.
The countless hours of directed coaching, the endless hours of single, determined, focused training runs, the hundreds of hours of travelling to race meets and the total commitment to her sport has seen Jaylah rise steadily in the Australian athletics field where her name has now become its own legend around the country. Jaylah's win in the 1500m at the March 2018 56th Australian Junior Championships was part of the lead up to the Oceania meet. For under-18 athletes seeking selection for the Youth Olympic Games, the Australian championships were the first step on the pathway to the selection which would then include competing in the Melanesian championships Port Vila, Vanuatu last week. At the March meet Jaylah stepped up an age to chase the Youth Olympic Games selection. In the 800m she ran 2:06.21. Extraordinarily this was the third time she had run this exact PB time. She placed second to Commonwealth Games team member Keely Small, but her chance of Youth Olympic Games selection with that result was slim. So, the next best option would be the 1500m, but with a PB of 4:24.89 and ranked well behind the four athletes with qualifiers she faced an uphill battle. But she ran a dogged race, as she and WA’s Melany Smart cleared out on the 1500m field. “My coach Andae said she (Smart) was good and I knew she would be running hard early and would be tough. ‘I was thinking hang-on, hang-on and bring it home,” recalled Jaylah. At the bell she was hot on the heels of Smart and maintained that until 180m out when she made her move and swung around her. “I was close, then thought ‘come on you can do this’ and found a second wind.” In terms of her time she was running into new territory. “I was really determined as I was aiming for the Olympic Youth and was second in the 800m the day earlier, so thought okay I have to come first (in the 1500m) or I can’t go.” She steamed home for a comfortable win by three seconds in a time of 4:19.21. It was a Youth Olympic Games qualifier, smashed the 17-year-old meet record and was a five second PB. Source: Author: David Tarbotton & Ron Bendall
Above: March 2018 Jaylah couldn’t have been any happier with the result coming home with a gold and a silver in the U18s while also setting a new meet record in the 1500m of 4:19.21 - photo http://nswathletics.org.au Jaylah is a member of the Limitless Track Team, under the guidance of Nationally acclaimed coach Andae Kalemusic Asked about Jaylah's 1500m win in Vanuatu Andae offered: "Jaylah over the last seven weeks has worked her butt off. In every session she has trained 100 percent and her improvement has been amazing. Her dedication and passion as a 15 year old is why she races the way she does. In the preparation leadup she has also achieved huge personal bests in racing cross country over last two weeks". For members of the South Coast Limitless Track Team there are is more than just the coaching and training. "It is a four hour trip for the athletes to compete at Homebush so when we arrive they usually are pretty tired before they have even raced. Also we have no assigned athletics tracks to train at Batemans Bay as there is no little athletics club between Ulladulla and Narooma. So we make do on a cricket oval. Most of the squad are at Batemans Bay and travel 20 to 45 min to train twice a week. In winter, our training sessions need to be done early as there is no lighting to train later". Take a moment to look back over just some of the milestones that has seen Jaylah rise to the International stage.
Above: March 2018 - 56th Australian Junior Championships - first in the 1500m in 4:19.21 and second in the 800m with #1 Youth Olympic Games qualifier, smashing the 17-year-old meet record with a five second PB
Above: Feb 25th 2018 At a night meet held by Bankstown Athletics Jaylah ran the race of the night with a 2 second PB in the 1500m in a 4.24.89 to be only 2.5 seconds off the Olympic Youth Qualifying time
Above: December 2017: Jaylah is the Australian Champion in the under 16 girls 1500m in a huge PB of 4.28.01
Above: September 2017 - Andae Kalemusic and Jaylah
Above: February 28, 2017 At 14 years of age Jaylah Hancock-Cameron ran sixth in 2:10.01 in the women’s 800m on day two of the 120th NSW Track and Field Championships running against such talent as Rio Olympian, Anneliese Rubie. Photo Athletics NSW with permission In early February 2017 she attended the NSW Junior & Youth Championships in Sydney and came away with FIRST place in the Women 800 Metre U16 with a time of 2:12.91. The following day she lined up for the Women 1500 Metre U16 and blitzed the field for a second recording a time of 4:44.25 In September 2016 she took out the State 800m Championships in her age group in 2:13:47 during the SOPAC - Homebush CHS State Championships 2016-17 As far back as October 2011 Jaylah was representing the South Coast when she competed in the Junior 800m at the NSW State Athletics carnival. Jaylah is happy to be at home and being able to settle back into training after a week away. "I would like to thank my family, friends, all those who have supported me, nurtured me and encouraged me." Jaylah told The Beagle, still tired from her flight home and still over the moon with her accomplishments. Jaylah's mum and Number One fan Leanne, also extends her thanks and acknowledgement to all those who have invested their belief in Jaylah "The Bankstown Sports, Moruya Rotary, Moruya High School, Tim at SportFirst Moruya, Huck Nutrition, Phillip and Judith Filmer-Smith, their kind friend from Canberra, Nails Alive, the Limitless Track Team, Nan and Pop and lastly Andae and Zdenko Kalemusic for taking my girl under their wings, making sure she was safe and well - and Andae's Mum and Dad, who always put us up for the night and has the stress of getting to the airport, thank you xx"