13-year-old Angus Clues achieved something truly inspirational at the Australian Little Athletics Championships in Hobart earlier this year – his discus throw of 60.84m in the U13 Boys event set a new international age record.
No U13 athlete in history has thrown further; it is essentially a world record for his age group.
Victoria’s Stevie Partsanis set the previous Australian record in 1992 – that 56.08m throw incomparable to Clues’ mammoth effort.
Despite the stunning accomplishment, Clues isn’t overly fazed about his record-breaking performance.
“I don’t like to dwell on it too much… I like to focus on what I do on the day, whether it be in the circle, during the run-up or on the track,” said Clues.
“For me, athletics is a journey; I am aware that it is a very long and hard road to success as an athlete.
“I am concentrating on continually learning and growing.”
Clues’ accomplishments are even more impressive when considering his past in Little Athletics. During his younger years, he was not a naturally gifted track & field athlete, struggling to keep up with other competitors in his age group.
In March 2013, a seven-year-old Angus Clues competed at his first State Combined Events Carnival in Orange. After competing in six track & field events, Clues placed 17th in the U7 Boys age group.
Determined to improve on these results, Clues travelled to the State Combined Events Carnival every year, eager for success. However, the youngster couldn’t replicate his rapid improvement on competition days, placing 23rd in 2014, 23rd in 2015 and 17th in 2016.
Clues remained optimistic, and in March this year, the young teen was crowned U13 Boys champion, winning the Combined Events Carnival for the first time on his seventh attempt, breaking the Australian Little Athletics discus record in the process.
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“The first year I competed in this event at Orange, I tripped over during one of my races – I learnt to get up and finish the race, even in adverse circumstances,” said Clues.
“I have surprised myself with the improvement in my ability to sprint.”
Clues was selected for the NSW State Team after a stellar performance at the State Track & Field Championships in the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre, where he placed first in the U13 Javelin and broke an all-time Little Athletics NSW record.
The New South Wales State Team retained the Trevor Billingham Trophy at ALAC in Hobart, with Clues returning to Sydney after claiming three gold medals, including the 4x100m relay team.
Clues was also a member of the most recent Trans Tasman State Team that travelled to New Zealand, flying across the ditch last January where he won the 200m event at the Colgate Games.
It was recently announced that the 2020 trip to New Zealand would be 22nd and final Trans Tasman tour, ending a much-loved tradition in the Little Athletics NSW calendar.
Clues cherished the sense of independence that came with travelling without his family, suggesting it placed him in good stead for high school.
“I came to learn that I was perfectly able to cope with everyday life on my own,” said Clues.
“I enjoyed the independence of packing my own bag, wearing the right uniform at the right time, keeping my room tidy and preparing myself for competing.
“The Trans Tasman trip with Little Athletics gave me invaluable life knowledge that would help me cope with what lay ahead in the year that followed.
“There is no doubt that it has prepared me for many situations, but mainly improved my ability to think for myself and step outside my comfort zone.”
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ALAC RESULT U13 4x100m Medleys NSW took gold in both the U13 Boys and Girls medleys at Hobart on the weekend! The gents – comprised of Chris Alaelua, Liam Coles, Angus Clues and Rashid Kabba – trumped the competition with a blistering time of 47.07 seconds. Meanwhile, Ellen Murphy, Chelsea Ezeoke, Damita Betham and Alexis Brunt comfortably finished in first place after a speedy 49.24 second run. The NSW team celebrated in style! #thisisusnsw
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The Trans Tasman tour is as much a social experience as it is an athletics competition; the kids have an opportunity to enjoy various aspects of New Zealand’s culture, including Rainbow’s End Fun Park and the Waiwera Hot Pools.
“I have great memories of racing my friends to the top of the slides and seeing who could make the biggest splash at the bottom,” said Clues.
“I now have a much deeper understanding of the Maori culture; this has come in handy because I have many new high school friends with Maori heritage.”
“The best memories I have of New Zealand always involve the new friends I had made – I look forward to catching up with them at future Athletics competitions.”
Unfortunately for Angus, a back injury during a warm-up session somewhat spoiled an otherwise successful trip to New Zealand, but the 13-year-old understands that this is an inevitable part of contemporary sport.
“I learnt to cope with it on my own; I am proud of myself for being able to do this,” said Clues.
“The adults around me were very supportive and offered me the best advice and comfort they could.”
With a strong passion for many sports, Clues isn’t sure about the trajectory of his sporting career. He’s understandably wary about focusing all his energy on athletics at such an early age when there’s potential to succeed in other disciplines.
“I think it is important to give everything a go; there is plenty of time for me to choose which avenue I would like to pursue,” said Clues.
“For now, athletics gives me so many extra strengths and skills that I can’t get from doing anything else. Above all, athletics has taught me how to be resilient in adverse situations.”