By Oliver Lees
Breaking a 25-year-old record is rare, but even rarer than that is having the previous record-holder there to see it.
That was exactly what happened to Michael Sparks last Saturday at the Sunbury Little Athletics Championship Day, as he took out the under-16’s high jump record, previously held by Daniel Carty.
Now a father, it just so happened that Daniel was at the championship day, cheering on his son in the shot put, when he heard the scorers table announce Michael was going for a record.
“When I heard that, I was pretty confident that was still my record,” he said.
“I approached the table and sure enough, it was a record for D. Carty.”
Michael had been eyeing the record for some time after coronavirus restrictions removed many opportunities to compete.
But Michael is no stranger to the spotlight, having already notched two records for triple jump and long jump.
Michael’s mother, Tracy, said she was proud as punch to see her son achieve his goal just before the end of the competitive season.
“It was his last chance to get the record and he smashed it,” she said.
“I was supervising the shot put at the time and we paused the event so we could watch.”
Not only did Michael leap into the history books, but he surprised even himself, as he smashed his own personal best by 15 centimetres.
“I was pretty shocked to be honest, but very happy,” Michael said.
Crowning the special moment, Daniel said he was more than happy to be the one to present Michael with his medal on the podium.
“It’s always a good thing when people break records, I was surprised it lasted so long,” he said.
“The medal presentation was a good idea and a fitting thing to do.”