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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Deng Bulabek turning heads

Deng Bulabek turning heads

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1 Deng Bulabek turning heads on Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:59 pm



Two months after being discovered, sprinter Deng Bulabek is on track to represent Australia at an Olympics

By Kym Morgan
Guardian Messenger
November 19, 2012

IT DOES not take long to turn heads in local athletics circles when you're built like Usain Bolt and boast an impressive record.

Two months after being discovered playing soccer in the west parklands, Kenyan-born Sudanese refugee Deng Bulabek has tongues wagging at the track.

Standing at 196cm - the same height as Olympic sprint king Bolt - the Mitchell Park-resident blitzed the field in an A-grade heat of an Athletics SA 400m club meet at Santos Stadium last month.

It was the 18 year old's first ever race and he did not know how to start out of blocks and had no pace judgement.

"He virtually jogged around for the first 250m and was 10m behind, then he took off half way around the final bend and won by 15m," says leading local coach Paul Young, who discovered Bulabek.

A few weeks later, the laconic sprinter pulled off the rare feat of winning a race with the SA Athletic League at just his second attempt.

Giving the frontmarker more than 60m, in the under-20 300m at the Henley Gift, Bulabek flew home to win off the backmark.

The Adelaide High School graduate is already dreaming of wearing the green and gold at an Olympics, but sprinting was the furthest thing from his mind growing up in a Kenyan refugee camp near Nairobi.

"Life was hard compared to Australia, but it was what we knew," says Bulabek, whose family fled war-torn Sudan.

"The United Nations provided us with food."

Within weeks, Bulabek is an athletics convert and has begun studying videos of Bolt.

Just for the record, whilst I did say Deng's the most naturally talented 400m runner I've seen in my time in SA, mainly because he is so raw, with no previous track experience, he's a long way from being SA's Usain Bolt. But the very good thing is Deng does see a future in the sport and hopefully he does well and opens up a pathway in athletics for other African refugees. The talent pool is certainly out there.

"Let's Go While We're Young"

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