Luke Boyes has always been a fast runner. In primary school he blitzed the Cross Country and then tackled Little Athletics to great acclaim.
However, at 13, Boyes fell out of love with athletics and decided to give cricket a go.
Throughout much of his high schooling years, he would play cricket over summer and soccer over winter. Boyes was enjoying his time between the two sports until life got tough for everyone last year when Sydney was plunged into lockdown.
Boyes needed to break his funk; he needed something to get his mind and body going again. So he turned to an old ‘friend’.
“During COVID last year, cricket wasn’t going great. I was a little bit bored, a little bit lonely, so I decided to get back into athletics,” Boyes told the Weekender.
“I got back into it with Run Crew in the Blue Mountains and I started enjoying it more and more.”
After recording a 7-second PB during a race earlier this season, Boyes quickly realised he still had it.
“I thought to myself, ‘I’m not too bad at this’,” he said.
What would happen to Boyes in the coming months is quite extraordinary.
The former Penrith High School student would go on to qualify for the Australian Track and Field Championships after claiming the NSW junior title over a strong field.
There, he would finish second by the smallest of margins in the 800m but, because his time was so fast, it was enough to send him to Columbia this August to compete at the U20 World Athletics Championships.
In the space of 12 months, Boyes will go from lacing up his running shoes again after a long lay-off to representing Australia for the very first time.
“I could never have imagined it,” the 18-year-old admitted.
“I got back into athletics in August last year and my goal back then was just to see how I would go after being out of it for a while.
“I really didn’t know what to expect. I couldn’t imagine I’d be representing Australia eight or nine months later.”
In just a few short months, this UTS Law and Social Political Science student will be up against some of the best young athletes in the world when he lines up in the 800m.
“I’m a bit nervous, as you would be, it’s the biggest competition that I’ve ever been to, but I’m also excited because it’s a new challenge that will hopefully come with new opportunities in the future,” he said.
“My goal is to make it into the semi-final, which I think I’m a good chance of doing.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.