Terang's Caytlyn Sharp eyes A qualifier for 2020 Tokyo Paralympics

GREEN AND GOLD: Caytlyn Sharp will represent Australia at the INAS Global games next week.

GREEN AND GOLD: Caytlyn Sharp will represent Australia at the INAS Global games next week.

SOUTH-WEST athlete Caytlyn Sharp has her eyes firmly set on an A qualifier for next year's Tokyo Paralympics.

But the journey to that hopeful mark starts at her second International Federation for Athletes with an Intellectual Disability Global Games in Brisbane from October 13-18.

The Terang-based athlete, who travels to train in Warrnambool six times a week, will compete in the 200 metres, triple jump, long jump, 4x100 relay and high jump.

Sharp is hoping to emulate her stunning high jump success of 2017, when she took out the event in Thailand at 14 years of age.

The Global Games are held every two years and this year is the first time it will be held on Australian soil, which has boosted Sharp.

"I've always wanted to compete for Australia on home soil," she said.

"Thailand was great but being here with a home crowd behind us all will be just amazing."

The Global Games are an opportunity for her to improve her long jump personal best with the T/F20 Disability Classification with the only Paralympic pathway events being long jump, shot put, 400m and 1500m.

STAR POWER: Caytlyn Sharp is no stranger to winning medals at big championships. This is her haul from last year's schools and athletics Victoria campaigns. Picture: Morgan Hancock

STAR POWER: Caytlyn Sharp is no stranger to winning medals at big championships. This is her haul from last year's schools and athletics Victoria campaigns. Picture: Morgan Hancock

Sharp, who has been a member of the Eureka Athletics Club for five years and travels every weekend to compete in Ballarat, hoped her love for the sport and her club could lead to some big improvements.

"Eureka is like a family, I feel really proud to be representing them, as well as Victoria and Australia at top level athletic events," the rising star said.

"We are really lucky to have such a great club and great facilities here in Ballarat. I train in Warrnambool during the week, which is close to home, but our track isn't as nice to run and jump on.

"The season here in Ballarat started last weekend and I am looking forward to trying to break a few more Australian records and if I can practice really hard, hopefully by March I can do an A qualifier for the Tokyo Paralympics."

Sharp has worked hard over the off-season with coach Jeremy Dixon, who is a former New Zealand national champion runner and now a high-level coach.

"We have focused on improving her technique and confidence," he said

"Cayt has already jumped a massive personal best length at her first competition a few weeks ago and I am looking forward to seeing what she can achieve at Global Games."

Sharp herself feels she is beginning to find peak form and is hoping for a big performance at the Global Games.

"I train six days a week, a mix of strength and conditioning, speed, sprint and jumping," she said of her weekly focuses.

"This is the first year I have trained all the way through the off-season and my jump has improved by over 40 centimetres."

Sharp has also received some handy advice from an Australian Commonwealth Games medallist.

"I've been part of the Athletics Victoria Target Talent Program and trained with Alwyn Jones, who is a national legend of jumping," she said.

"I've been really lucky this year, I just hope I can do well for them, as much as for me and my club and my family."

More than 1000 athletes all with an intellectual disability competing in 10 different events will converge on the Queensland capital for what is expected to be a groundbreaking event.

The Global Games will see intellectually disabled (or T/F20), Down Syndrome and Autistic athletes all competing in their own event classifications for the first time ever.

Sharp jets off to Brisbane on Friday as she prepares for the start of competition on Sunday.

This story Terang athlete begins journey to hopeful spot at Tokyo Olympics first appeared on The Standard.