28 November 2023

Long jump star smashes field at national champs

| Matt Nicholls
Start the conversation

Maia Pensio is all smiles with his gold medal.

Look out Brisbane 2032 because Maia Pensio has his sights set on you!

The Cooktown tyro is now the Australian schools champion in the 11-years boys’ long jump, after leaping a personal best to blow away the field in Launceston on Sunday.

The all-round sports star had to fight hard to secure victory on the Apple Isle.

Pensio’s third-round leap of 4.96m was matched by NSW rival Owen Tang, which forced the Cooktown youngster to dig deep and find another level.

He went above and beyond to record a massive personal best of 5.26m – 17cm more than second placing and 19cm more than his previous best.

Proud mum Liesl said she was blown away by his performance.

“I knew that if he jumped what I’ve seen him jump in training I thought he could get a medal,” she said from Launceston.

“I don’t know how to describe it … that was an incredible jump that came from nowhere.

“He really responded to the competition.”

Cooktown long jump star Maia Pensio makes a leap in the Australian School Sport Championships in Launceston.

The Cooktown Little Athletics star, who identifies as a Torres Strait Islander, hasn’t had perfect conditions to prepare for the School Sport Championships.

“We don’t even have grass at the moment; it’s a combination of dry dirt and weeds,” his mum said.

“We didn’t even have sand until we managed to get someone to dump some a week before we left.

“Maia even had plovers swooping him while he trained.”

It caps off a big year for Pensio, who competed in four state titles in 12 months, including swimming, rugby league, cross country and track and field.

“He’s going to St Peter’s (Lutheran College) in Brisbane next year,” Liesl said.

“It’s been so challenging to support his sporting life. I want to be his mum again and not his coach and trainer.”

Start the conversation

Cape York Weekly

Subscribe to get the latest edition of Cape York Weekly in your inbox each Monday.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Cape York Weekly's terms and conditions and privacy policy.