Excitement Continues to Build: 57 Days to Go!

In May we have already seen the super efforts from Linden Hall (4.04.47 PB and OQ in the 1500m) and Josh Robinson (85.11m PB and OQ in the javelin), not to mention the fantastic performances from Jared Tallent and Dane-Bird Smith in Italy at the World Race Walking team championships and Fabrice Lapierre and Dani Samuels at the recent Diamond League meeting in Shanghai. Now we turn our attention to the upcoming action in Asia, Europe and the United States, where our Aussie athletes take to the track in important events leading into the final Olympic selection meeting for Rio on July 12.

This Wednesday we have two very important meetings taking place:

  • IAAF World Challenge meeting in Beijing, China
  • Nijmegen Global Athletics Meeting, Netherlands
Jenny Blundell – can she break through in Beijing and produce a sub 4.07.00 in the women’s 1500m?

Then on Saturday (AEST) we see the action heat up in the United States, where the Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic takes places. All three events play an important part in Australian athletes still pushing for Rio selection.

At the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Beijing we will see the likes of Josh Ralph (800m) and Jenny Blundell (1500m) take to the starting line. Ralph already has an Olympic qualifier but was not selected in the original team for Rio that took place directly after the National Championships in April. He has a best of 1.47.01 (Perth Track Classic) this year, and will be chasing a time closer to the OQ time of 1.46.00 to ensure he receives the final nod for Rio on July 12.

Blundell is in a tougher situation, where Melissa Duncan (4.05.56) has already qualified for Rio and Zoe Buckman (4.06.30) and Linden Hall (4.04.47) also owning important Olympic qualifiers and are currently in the box seat for selection. Then you have an athlete like Heidi See who will also be looking at achieving the OQ time 4.07.00 when she lines up at the Hoka One One Distance Classic on Saturday.

Add this all up and you have one extremely interesting event. Blundell will therefore require a substantial PB in China (currently at 4.09.67), but as we saw with Hall in Stanford anything can and will happen! (note: Brandon Starc and Nik Bojic are also on the entry list for the men’s high jump in Beijing, while Kathryn Mitchell is entered in the women’s javelin).

Also lining up in the United States on Saturday will be:

  • Lora Storey (closing in on the OQ time in the 800m of 2.01.50)
  • James Nipperess (looking to bounce back in the 3000m steeple after a ‘dnf’ in Stanford)
  • Jordan Gusman (hoping to break 3.40.00 for the first time outside of Australian in the men’s 1500m)

Aussies Distance Stars Taking Over the Netherlands

In Nijmegen, Netherlands on Wednesday we also see important races for the likes of:

  • Luke Mathews, Brett Robinson, Dave McNeill and Sam McEntee (1500m)
  • Ryan Gregson (800m)
  • Selma Kajan, Zoe Buckman and Genevieve LaCaze (800m)
Genevieve LaCaze, Melbourne IAAF World Challenge: Photo by Jarrod Partridge for Runner's Tribe
Genevieve LaCaze, moving down to the women’s 800m in Nijmegen. Photo by Jarrod Partridge for Runner’s Tribe

Mathews is the most interesting athlete, looking at bettering the OQ time of 3.36.20 (to add to his selection for Rio in the 800m). There are four Kenyans in the field, so the expectation is that the race will have some speed injected into it.

Kajan is the other athlete pushing for the all important OQ, this time in the women’s 800m, where the time required is a 2.01.50. Kajan has twice gone under 2.03.00 in 2016, a 2.02.90 in Newcastle and a SB of 2.02.26 at the Perth Track Classic.

After Nijmegen two of the above mentioned athletes (Robinson and Mathews) will then move onto the World Challenge meeting in Hengelo on Sunday May 22. Mathews will move back down to the 800m, while Robinson will race in his ‘pet’ event, the men’s 5000m. Also in action will be Benn Harradine in the men’s discus throw, while Buckman will return to her favourite event (the women’s 1500m), hoping to improve on her 4.10.28 SB set at the recent Diamond league meeting in Shanghai, China.

Stay tuned to Runnerstribe.com as we bring you all the latest action from all parts of the globe.

Meeting Links

  • Hengelo World Challenge: website
  • Nijmegen Meeting in the Netherlands: website
  • Hoka One One Distance Classic: website


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