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PROTRACK » GENERAL » (Solomon) The Delta fan out to beat John Steffensen

(Solomon) The Delta fan out to beat John Steffensen

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The Delta fan out to beat John Steffensen

by: Glenda Korporaal
From:The Australian
May 28, 2012

Teenage London Olympics hopeful Steven Solomon stretches out at Rose Bay in Sydney Picture: Nikki Short Source: The Australian

NINETEEN-year-old Sydney student Steven Solomon has got the London Olympics in his grasp - almost.

The national champion and fastest 400m runner in Australia at the moment, Solomon ran the quickest time when the Australian 4x400m team in South Korea two weeks ago put themselves in reach of qualifying for the Olympics.

If the Australian men's relay, which now ranks 10th in the world, maintains a top-16 ranking before the London Games, which open on July 27, Solomon will have his Olympic spot booked.

And in Brisbane on the weekend, he will attempt to run the A-qualifying time of 45.3 seconds to put his name down for the Australian team in the 400m individual race as well.

"I am looking forward to the opportunity of competing in London," said Solomon who lists Delta Goodrem and Sally Pearson as sources of inspiration..

"I am in the best shape of my life at the moment. I am far stronger and far faster than I was last year."

Solomon, who has a scholarship to study medicine at Stanford University in California in September, won the 400m Australian championships last year in 45.58sec and won it again this year in 45.54sec.

His split time in the relay in Daegu on his 19th birthday two weeks ago, was a personal best of 44.8sec - within the Olympic A-qualifying standard - but it doesn't count as a qualification for the individual event.

Solomon has already been chosen for the Australian team for the world junior championships in Barcelona in July.

In theory, Solomon will have to run an A-qualifier before the Australian Olympic cut-off date of June 11 if he wants to secure his place in the individual event.

If he doesn't, he may have to vie for the spot with the more experienced John Steffensen, who has also run a B-qualifying time. Countries can only send one B-qualifying athlete per event.

The son of one of Sydney's top orthopaedic surgeons, Michael Solomon, he plans to combine a top-level career as an athlete while studying to be a doctor.

His parents didn't want him to go into medicine, because of the personal demands of the job, but when he went to Tonga to help his father as part of an aid program when he was 16, he decided he wanted to be a doctor.

"I was able to go in scrubbing and helping with the operations and saw how things worked," he said. "I fell it love with it there and thought, this is exactly what I wanted to do."

Always good at sport, Solomon excelled early at soccer. He captained the Australian team at the Maccabi Games in Israel in 2009. But his athletics career began to take off about the same time.

Solomon said he admires singer Delta Goodrem for her ability to cope with the challenges of a world-class career and overcoming cancer.

"As funny as it sounds, although we are in different forms - (Delta) is an artist and I am obviously an athlete - we both hit the scene young," he said.

"She dealt with coming through that and obviously she had cancer.

"You look at how she came back from that, how people like that draw positive thoughts out of poor situations. I was really depressed when I was injured. I was thinking. 'Am I ever going to run as fast as I did?'

"I realised that things could be a lot worse."

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