Albany triple jump rising star Mason Watkins will mix it with the best young talent in the nation at the Australian Little Athletics Championships in Melbourne next month. The 13-year-old Albany Little Athletics Club member is competing in his first national championships and was selected on the back of terrific performances at State events in 2021 and 2022. Watkins finished third with a jump of 10.35m in the triple jump in the WA State Championships in 2022 and he also had big personal best efforts in the long jump and high jump, in which he finished fourth and fifth respectively. The youngster recorded a personal best in triple jump a fortnight ago with an effort of 11.23m, breaking the previous under-14 record in the Albany Little Athletics Club in the process. Watkins will compete alongside the best young athletes WA has to offer at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne from April 21-23. “I am looking forward to the experience of being included in the WA State team and getting the chance to compete in another State against the best of the best in Australia,” he said. “I have to try to keep as fit as possible before I go. “I would really like to be able to place somewhere in the top 10 in my age group but it would be even more amazing if I managed to get a medal in my first nationals competition though. “I am so excited and really looking forward to witnessing the elite talent out there. “The thing I love about triple jump is the feeling of flying through the air and being able to leap as far as possible but also the feeling of achievement whenever I hit a new personal best.” Mason’s mother Liz said her son took up little athletics from a young age and, after a small setback early on, had continued to excel in all of his events. “He’s been doing little athletics since he was in Year 1, the first year he actually didn’t want to do it again because he found himself sort of at the middle of the pack,” she said. “We made him go back another year and he loved it after that, it really just let him strive to do better all the time. “When Albany won the country championships, Mason’s sister won bronze that year. “Mason didn’t get anything and that really spurred him on again, the next country championships he won a couple of medals and then won more after that. “Each time he does anything it just gives him more drive to do better.” At his first State championships in 2021 Watkins competed in four events and didn’t win a medal but he used that as motivation to return last year and claim bronze in the triple jump.