NOT EVEN record-breaking heat could stop Seaford shooter Daniel Tarrant from claiming gold at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
The 16-year-old had to wait until the third day of festival to begin his campaign, at which point Sydney was experiencing its hottest day ever with temperatures nearing 50 degrees.
But while those around him wilted in the heat, the former Seaford College pupil kept his cool and held a one-shot lead in the men’s trap after the initial 75 shots.
Tarrant extended that lead to three by the end of qualification 24 hours later before going on to claim gold five shots ahead of nearest rival James Grice of Australia.
And if topping the podium wasn’t enough for Tarrant, to do so in the blazing sun and sweltering temperatures Down Under made it all the more sweeter.
“I am over the moon to have won gold,” said Tarrant. “I didn’t think I could do it, I thought it would be a lot harder than it was.
“Despite the weather I am happy with the result. The weather played a big impact on the results, on my whole routine, from drinking lots of water to performing, but I am very happy.
“When we go abroad we will experience similar heat, so hopefully now I have experienced extreme heat conditions I can learn from it. It is good practice.
“I have two highlights - to achieve what I have achieved and to survive the heat. along with meeting new people from around the world. I hope I have made some lifelong friends.”
With 1,700 athletes from 30 countries converging on Sydney to battle it out over 17 different sports, this was Tarrant’s first taste of an Olympic atmosphere. And he admits he has well and truly caught the bug.
“Winning gold in Australia has given me so much confidence and I can’t wait to go to more international events now and try to build on this,” he added.
“And now I have done this festival it has got me thinking about the future and the long-term goal is the Rio Olympics in 2016.”
* The British Olympic Association prepares and leads British athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. It works in partnership with sport national governing bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic values. www.olympics.org.uk