EVERY step Ben Offereins has taken since joining the Rockingham Little Athletics Club when he was just seven has led him to London – and now he is only days away from realising his Olympic dream.
The 26-year-old will run for Australia in front of millions in the 4x400m men’s relay in just over a week. The team is considered a genuine medal chance.
Offereins spoke to the Courier this week from the Olympic village, as spectators and athletes prepared for the Games to begin with tonight’s opening ceremony.
He said he was just beginning to feel the anticipation of his first Olympics.
“The excitement has just started for me; I haven’t got my uniform yet; when I get that I think it will hit me,” he said.
The former Maranatha Christian College and Warnbro Community High School student said London was a long way from Rockingham but parts of the United Kingdom reminded him of his childhood home.
“Every now and then I get down from Perth to Rockingham ; I still have one of my best friends there,” he said.
Offereins said he had fond memories of growing up in the area.
“We’d run out the door after breakfast and all you had to do was be back home by dark; we’d go to the local bushland … play bike chasey where the boundary was the whole suburb; it was great freedom,” he said.
It was after competing well at a school athletics carnival when he was seven that his parents took him along to a Rockingham Little Athletics Club meeting, starting a love affair with the sport.
“I always wanted to run but it was kickstarted with little athletics; I loved it, I loved going down on Saturdays and trying different events,” he said.
“They really keep our sport going; without juniors you wouldn’t have any seniors.”
The men’s relay team will want to emulate the form that won a bronze medal at the Berlin World Championships two years ago.