March 21, 2011 by David Weiner-Maccabi NSW
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Steve Solomon might be Maccabi NSW’s incumbent Junior Sportsman of the Year, but this is a young guy who now has mainstream Australian sport talking.

Solomon won the 400 metres at the Melbourne Track Classic at Olympic Park on Friday night, and did so by running a personal best 46.12 seconds while mowing down Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sean Wroe and beating 2006 Commonwealth champion John Steffensen and relay medallists Joel Milburn, Kevin Moore and Ben Offereins.

The win had him dubbed the ‘next big thing’ in Saturday’s press, and Solomon admits the whole experience is a huge confidence boost for his athletics ambitions.

“Coming into the final 100, I could see they had a bit of a lead on me, but I was feeling great,” Solomon told Maccabi News.

“I wanted to give it everything; I got closer to them bit by bit.

“I had that drive to dig deeper, find some more energy and timed it perfectly to go over the line – or fall over the line – first.

steve solomon.jpg“Hitting that home straight in a 400 – you’re in pain – it takes lot of mental strength in that last 100 to pick it up – and I’m really glad I was able to.

“Every time I watch the video coming down the home straight- I get goose bumps; I really did fight hard for that.”

Solomon earned his spot after his 46.44 run at the All Schools event in December. Given the calibre of the field, Solomon was hoping the night would yield a PB, fourth place finish and a tremendous learning experience.

He certainly exceeded his expectations.

“I was kind of intimidated to be competing there because it is notoriously one of Australia’s biggest meets,” he added. “I was just really excited when I got the confirmation that I’d received a lane.

“It’s ironic in a way because my mates didn’t understand the full magnitude of the race itself; and so they are like, of course you’re going to win it.

“But then I really took it on board. I shouldn’t go into a race wanting to come 4th.”

First will do, thank you very much, and the win gave Solomon a bit more than Maccabi News to contend with after the race.

“I finished the race; and I was 90% sure I had it; not 100% sure; I looked at other guys reactions and realised I had stolen it.

“I then rushed to do the main interview and I was full of adrenalin.

“It was weird doing interviews under so much lactic – what I was thinking came out quite differently!

“But it was great to have all the press – to get used to the experience of doing a race and doing the post race interview.”

The whole night was a great learning curve. From what Steve describes as a good, strong warm up, to being “really impressed how I stuck to my race plan”, to finding that extra morsel of energy to burst home at the end, the night is something Steve can use to ignite his career.

He’s off to the Australian Junior Championships in Sydney this weekend, with the Sydney Track Classic to follow the week after. And he knows the stakes have been raised.

“The expectations are raised both from others and myself.

“I’m pretty optimistic about the future at the moment but I’m not getting to far ahead of myself.

“But things are on track and if they continue as they a

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