Tasmanian teen Deon Kenzie breaks world para-athletics record

By Rebecca Hewett

Tasmanian teenager Deon Kenzie is being touted as a possible future Paralympic gold medallist after breaking the 1500m world record for his category at Hobart's Domain.

The 18-year-old from Tasmania's north-west has cerebral palsy that affects the right side of his body.

Years of hard work paid off on Saturday when he rounded a bend at the Domain athletics centre and sprinted for the finish, crossing the line in 4:08.51, breaking the world record for a T38 classification by nearly a second.

"It's really good to get it out of the way at the start of the season," he said.

In October the Devonport athlete came close to the record but missed out by milliseconds.

Kenzie said this time he executed his game plan and it worked.

"I guess I just stayed pretty focussed for the whole race," he said.

"Just try to stick to the game plan, 66 seconds per lap and that's pretty much what I tried to stay focussed on every lap. And, yeah, it worked out well for me."

Coach Mike Gunson said it is hard for Kenzie to accelerate or change pace but he makes up for it with mental strength.

"And really it's just his determination, he's really tough," he said.

"Deon is probably the toughest athlete I've coached.

"I've coached for well over 20 years and many, many good athletes but I don't think I've seen a tougher, more determined, more dedicated, more motivated young athlete than young Deon."

Kenzie's now focussing on the national championships in Brisbane in March and the world Paralympic championships in Doha.