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Teen’s higher calling

ON TOP: Chelsea Egginton at the NSW junior titles in February when she cleared a then world-best 1.76 metres. Picture: David TarbottonREDHEAD high jumper Chelsea Egginton ended 2015 just one centimetre off the best height for her age group in the world.

Not bad considering a seriouship injury in Mayall but wiped out the rest of her year.Now the 14-year-old is back and determined to one day become a Commonwealth and Olympic Games athlete.

Egginton jumped 1.76 metresto win the NSWjunior title on February 6, ranking her first in the world for 2015 in her age group and just five centimetres off the all-time 13-years mark.She was aiming tochallenge the world record before her birthday in July, but anavulsion fracture in the growth plate of her right hip during training on May 4 ended her hopes.Anavulsion fractureis when a small chunk of bone attached to a tendon or ligament breaks off. It is a common injury for athletes in their early teens.

“A week before the injury happened, it was pulling and feeling tight,” Egginton said.

“We didn’t think it was a big issue, then I played in the Bill Turner Cup soccer the week before it happened, and that’s when I started to notice somethingwas wrong.I took it easy thenthe day before my school carnival, I went out to train and it happened in my high jump run-up. It sounded like when you throwa handball at a brickwall. Just a big pop. My coach heard it from 20 metres away.”

In her absence, UkrainianOlena Zhmur cleared1.77m to top the age group for 2015.Egginton, who returned totraining in August, remained No.2despite the long lay-off.

She said the experience “just makes me keen to jump back to those heights so I can be on top again”.

“I’m going in a few more comps now andI’ve been jumping in the 160s.My main goal is to get back jumping in the 170s andI want to get there by NSW juniors in February,” she said.

She will compete at the January 30Hunter Track Classic at Glendale ahead of state and national junior championships.

Her goal is to jump at theworld juniors and youth titles over the next two years thenrepresent Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

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