The rising stars of Australian men’s track and field have shone across the globe these past twenty-four hours, with Joel Baden (Vic) and Kurtis Marschall (SA) both qualifying for the Olympic Games as Jack Hale (Tas) bettered the national under 20 100m record.
Competing in the men’s high jump at the North Queensland Games in Cairns (Qld), it was Baden who opened the impressive set of highlights with an equal personal best clearance of 2.29m to ensure his eligibility to compete alongside the selected Brandon Starc (NSW) at Rio 2016.
Raising the bar to 2.32m, the 20-year-old was unable to improve his best mark, but the performance is a testament to perseverance after nine outings as part of the Australian Athletics Tour and continuing domestic season to achieve the result yesterday afternoon.
Marschall’s outstanding effort showcases a star on the rise, with the 19-year-old soaring over 5.70m to win the boy’s pole vault at the Bauhaus Junioren Gala in Mannheim (GER), as he continues to prepare for competition at the IAAF World Under 20 Championships next month.
Improving his personal best by 15 centimetres, he is ecstatic to have been able to deliver an Olympic Games standard that, as Australian champion, will ensure his nomination for a debut start in the green and gold at an open age major championship.
“This is absolutely insane. I never expected to have a jump as big as the Rio standard in me this year. I’ve only attempted it a couple of times but this one was just perfect, everything about it was right. There was great conditions, I had my coach (Kym Simons) here with me, and it unfolded exactly as I wanted it too. I am absolutely over the moon. It’s just ridiculous,” Marschall said.
“Ever since I started Little Athletics I wanted to go the Olympic Games. I have been a successful athlete as a junior, but I never expected to live my dream at this age. To be on the road to Rio at 19 is something very special. I am so privileged to just have the opportunity and I can’t wait to see what unfolds in the next few weeks and months.”
Determined to arrive at the Olympic Games in the shape of his life, Marschall will now rapidly shift his focus back to medal winning success alongside the best junior athletes in the world at Bydgoszcz 2016.
“Bydgoszcz is first though, and it’s a huge priority. That’s where I saw the highlight of my year coming from and I am pumped to compete there. I have the biggest jump in the world for athletes my age, but I can’t rely on that. I have to carry this form with me to the next event and on to Rio from there,” Marschall said.
“The team environment I am in here, the support that I have around me here at the Australian camp, it’s perfect to make it happen so I’ll be doing my best to be the best I can be.
Hale’s stunning 10.21 (w: +1.6) run in the boy’s under 20 100m in Mannheim (GER) capped off an impressive set of results for the green and gold.
Competing a mere 48 hours after arriving in Europe alongside his teammates headed to Bydgoszcz 2016, Hale’s performance sees him take the Australian under 20 100m record from Trae Williams(Qld) and moves him to 11th on the Australian All-Time List.
“It’s a very pleasing result coming straight off the plane. It’s a big PB so I’ve got a lot of confidence moving into the next month before the big one in Poland,” Hale said.
“I feel as though stages of the race were perfect today. I’ve been practising that transition to the last 50m and I feel as though I’ll be a new athlete once I freshen up in the coming weeks. Since I landed I’ve been a bit tired, so that makes today even more pleasing.”
In other highlights from across the globe this past weekend:
– Alana Boyd (Qld) cleared 4.60m to win the women’s pole vault at the North Queensland Games. She will now prepare for competition in Europe in July before the athletics team camp in Bradenton (USA) ahead of Rio 2016.
– Brooke Stratton (Vic) won the women’s long jump in Cairns (Qld) with a 6.68m (w: +0.0) leap, while the men’s event was won by Rio 2016 bound Henry Frayne with a jump of 7.72m (w: +2.5).
– Genevieve LaCaze (Vic) added a tenth personal best run to her 2016 resume by clocking 2:04.05 to win the women’s 800m in Kuortane (FIN), with Zoe Buckman (Vic) crossing 3rd in 2:04.54.
– Edging closer to the Rio 2016 standard for the men’s 110m hurdles, Nicholas Hough (NSW) clocked a season best 13.69 (w: +0.8) to win at the Leichathletik Meeting in Rhede (GER).
– Second placed in a time of 46.22, Steve Solomon (NSW) once again narrowly missed the qualifying mark for the men’s 400m at the Murcia Meeting in Murcia (ESP).