At just 15 years old, Tuqiri Mason, a proud Gangalu athlete, is carving out a remarkable path in the realm of athletics.
Mason recently left an indelible mark on the record books of New South Wales' Hastings Secondary College, obliterating a long-standing record in the 100m dash for both the open and 16-year divisions.
Undeterred by his nerves and without the aid of starting blocks or specialized training, Mason accomplished an astonishing feat, completing the race in a remarkable 10.92 seconds, surpassing the record set by Adam Miller two decades ago.
Adam Miller, recognized as an accomplished Australian sprinter with a 100m personal best of 10.17 seconds, showcased his skills on international stages including the 2004 Olympics, 2006 Commonwealth Games, and 2007 IAAF World Championships.
While Mason's heart lies in long jump, he acknowledges the significance of his accomplishments thus far despite minimal assistance.
"I feel incredible to have broken the record; I'm proud and appreciative of this achievement," Mason shared with the National Indigenous Times.
Long jump holds a special place in his heart, as he admits to experiencing pronounced nerves during his running events.
Tuqiri Mason's achievements extend beyond this record-breaking moment.
During the Lower North Coast Districts competition held in Coffs Harbour, Mason demonstrated his versatile athletic prowess by securing the top spot in the 100m, 200m, and long jump events.
This impressive display has propelled him into the next phase of competition, a testament to his innate talent and skill which he envisions taking to the pinnacle of achievement.
As he looks ahead, Mason envisions representing his culture and country on the grand stage, aspiring to one day participate in the Olympics.
"I'm just 15, soon to be 16, and I would love to represent my culture and country and see myself in the Olympics," Mason stated.
Community support has been a driving force for him, spurring him to continuously improve himself.
Despite his immense potential, financial constraints pose a challenge on Tuqiri's journey.
With a mere month until the NSWCHSSA (NSW Combined High Schools Sports Association) - Secondary Athletics - Championships, Mason's family seeks support to ensure his participation.
Candice, his mother, stands proudly behind her son's achievements, firmly believing in his boundless potential within the realm of athletics.
"His personality revolves around family, and he's a laid-back and relaxed young boy," she shared with the National Indigenous Times.
"If he focuses on his athletics, he has the potential to go a long way. I remember when he was in year 3, he had to race against the year 6 and 7 boys and he beat them! That's when I knew he had potential."
Mason is set to compete from September 5 to 8, an event that coincides with his 16th birthday on September 7.
As Tuqiri embarks on this significant chapter of his athletic journey, a GoFundMe has been established to assist in the cost of registration fees, uniforms, accommodation, fuel and other expenses.
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Photo Courtesy National Indigenous Times
Courtesy National Indigenous Times