Thornlands brothers Will and Riley Higgins line up big 2021 after finishing turbulent year among Australia's best young athletes

ATHLETICS duo Will and Riley Higgins overcame the hurdles thrown up in 2020 to finish the year among the best young athletes in the country.

STAR IN THE MAKING: Thornlands athlete Will Higgins, 16, of Thornlands, is among the best young hammer throwers in the country. Photo: Casey Sims

STAR IN THE MAKING: Thornlands athlete Will Higgins, 16, of Thornlands, is among the best young hammer throwers in the country. Photo: Casey Sims

The Thornlands pair went about six months without training during the height of the coronavirus pandemic but managed to achieve a national top ten ranking in their respective disciplines and age groups last year.

Will, 16, finished the year second overall for under 17 men's hammer throw, having achieved a personal best of 58.99 metres in the five kilogram event during December.

Riley, 18, is in the top six Australian under 20 athletes for 400m hurdles and decathlon, the latter of which he has only just begun competing in.

GAME FACE: Riley Higgins, a music student at Queensland University of Technology, has leapt his way into the best young hurdlers in Australia. Photo: Casey Sims

GAME FACE: Riley Higgins, a music student at Queensland University of Technology, has leapt his way into the best young hurdlers in Australia. Photo: Casey Sims

Both teens are a part of the Queensland Athletics Target Talent Program, which is aimed at helping young athletes go on to represent Australia.

Their mother Kylie said they had done well to finish in the top echelon of young athletes given the roadblocks thrown up in 2020.

"They are just trying to keep motivated and look at representing Australia at one of the youth comps," she said.

"It was a horrible year for sport and you just have to get back on the bike and keep going.

"The hammer cage, which is Will's discipline, and also the pole vault mats, were shut for six months. They couldn't train over that period."

"Their goal is to represent Australia. Will hasn't represented Australia, so at one of the Oceanic or under 20 competitions, that is a goal."

Riley is into his second year at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane where he studies music and teaching.

He attends on a sport scholarship and was captain of Cleveland District State High School in 2019.

His brother is following in in his footsteps, having been announced as a year 12 house leader for the upcoming school year.

Ms Higgins said there were question marks over whether nationals would go ahead in April but the boys were continuing to train hard.

"This is the year they are going to try and make it," she said.

"It is hard when there is no finish line at the end, especially with the youth Commonwealth Games being cancelled.

"Will was devastated but he has had to pick it up and keep going."

Ms Higgins said athletics was a big part of the family's life, as the boys had been involved for the last eleven years.

"September to March is full on training. They get a month off around April and then it is back to pre-season training.

"It is a pretty big focus for them."

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