29 March 2011
Jake Stein – well rounded all rounder
A series of fine multi event and individual performances over the last two years have signalled the enormous potential of teenage decathlete Jake Stein (Asics Wests). At the recent Australia Junior Championships he won medals in the discus, long jump and shot, just missed a high jump medal on countback and for the second consecutive year made the hurdles final. It is this staggering all round ability that is very rare.
He has played rugby league and union, cricket, AFL and last year gave up a talented soccer career.
“I also played soccer from when I was four and moved on to reps when I was 10,” said Stein.
“Then at 10 I juggled both soccer and rugby league with both wanting me to continue on. In the end soccer continued, although I was still receiving offers to play rugby league, but I never went back. The highlight of my soccer career was getting to play in the Manchester Cup in England for Marconi in the 15s. We were the first Australian team to make it to that stage of the tournament and I now have a few international friendships from the trip.”
But athletics has been there from the beginning too.
“I started little athletics at the age of three in the tiny tots,” said Stein who competed for Warradale Little Athletics Club.
“My older brother was participating in little athletics so my parents joined me up.”
After 14-years, last week he graduated from Little Athletics.
“All up I would have won around 35 state medals, including 15 titles (eight multis) in various events: short hurdles, all three throws, all three jumps. Also two silver medals in the 70m and 200m at 9 years behind Nick Hough.”
Jake has many strong and fond memories of his years in Little Athletics.
“There have been great times just meeting new people, forming friendships with mates that I now have today.”
A very respectful young person he recognises people who have assisted him on his way.
“Two people from Warradale, Barry and Anne Garment, have supported me throughout my whole athletics career and have always helped me out.
“Long jump is one event where there have been a few good memories. The under 12s where I won a silver medal on countback ahead of Jarrod Geddes – that was good.
“Another was the state long jump last week competing with Ben Cox and Justin Tarabine. Despite not having the best conditions it was a great night because we managed to get the crowd involved early with clapping etc, I think they enjoyed having the older boys perform well.”
“For many years one of my main competitors was another Warradale athlete. Scott Macarthy and I have been good mates for years but also fierce competitors at all levels from Friday night club through to PSG and nationals. I still remember us going one-two at the State multi at Coffs in the mud, a great achievement for a small club. It was a shame to see Scott give his athletics away due to injuries as I think he would still be there pushing me today.”
“Being able to perform well and enjoy it with mates is a memory worth keeping.”
Earlier this year Stein also travelled to his final multi event championships, where he won in a record score of 5215 points. But he made time to seek out and encourage a young star who broke a record in the under-8.
Jake is also a strong family-orientated person. His dad, Phil is his coach and mentor and when he was young was a shot putter, while his mum Sam helps transport him and support him at training and competitions. His brother Luke won a state long jump title with no training, but his younger brother Rhys, is making very good progress in athletics. He is the state under-16 combined events and javelin champion and recently won a bronze in the hurdles at the Australian championships, where he also competed in the long jump, discus, javelin and high jump.
“Rhys is really starting to perform well and giving me quite a scare,” said his older brother. The close and supportive family is evident when you see Jake as the first person to congratulate his younger brother and regularly talking up his achievements.
If all goes to plan in Perth this week, Stein will be off to France in July to compete in the World Youth Championships.
“Competing in France is something I am really looking forward to. The fact that I have played soccer in England and also taken part in the TTP trip to New Zealand earlier this year has given me some valuable experience that should help me perform at my best when it counts.
“The goal I have set is to try and win the gold medal or at least medal and try to break the World Youth Record for Octathlon in the process. My goals are fairly high but it is better to set yourself goals in which you must work extremely hard to achieve than ones you can achieve without pushing your limits and seeing what you are capable of.”
And his long term goals?
“Again my goals are very high but hopefully one day achievable. I would like to hopefully make world juniors next year then look at the commonwealth games in 2014. Then look towards the Rio 2016 Olympics and then ultimately one day try and break the world record.”
Over the last six months he has been training alongside athletes like Dani Samuels and Hayley Butler and receiving coaching assistance from Denis Knowles and John Quinn.
“I’d like to think that having a more structured strength and conditioning program for the last six months has contributed in a big way to my improved performances.”
“I would urge everyone to try and have the best support team around them as it is crucial as no one can be the best on their own.
Why are some athletes easily attracted to the footy codes, while others are happy to make a commitment to athletics?
“I just love the sport as it has so much to offer,” said Stein “I am a statistics nut as many people who are close to me would know. I live for stats and am constantly looking up different results and records from around Australia and the world.”
Statistics – JAKE STEIN
Date of birth: 17 Jan 1994
U18 Combined Event – 7049 points
U20 Combined Event – 6460 points
100m – 11.61
Long Jump - 7.15m
Shot Put (5kg) - 16.93m
High Jump – 2.04m
400m – 52.76
110h (91cm) – 14.44
Discus (1.5kg) - 55.25m
Pole Vault – 3.10m
Javelin (700g) 54.58m
1500 – 4.53.88
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: Jake Stein (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)