Athletes from across the nation will duel for the coveted title of national champion on the hallowed turf of Carrara Stadium, with Athletics Australia today confirming that the 2018 Australian Athletics Championships will be held on the Gold Coast (Qld).
Providing a most important preparation opportunity on the same track and field that will welcome athletes for the Commonwealth Games only weeks later, the four-day timetable from 15-18 February will double as the Nomination Trial for the Australian athletics section.
The Championships have been made possible with the support of Tourism and Events Queensland and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC).
“The Australian Athletics Championships will be the perfect warm-up event for the Commonwealth Games, not only for the athletes but for the world-class facilities at Carrara as well,” the Hon. Kate Jones MP, Minister for Tourism, Events & the Commonwealth Games, said.
“The world’s best will love the facilities at Carrara and we are delighted that Australia’s elite athletes will get the opportunity to experience them early through the national championships.”
“The Commonwealth Games will be the biggest event in Queensland this decade and the excitement on the Gold Coast is already building, especially around the athletics, so to stage the Australian titles at Carrara is a real coup.”
GOLDOC Chairman, Peter Beattie AC, said the fact that the national championships were being held on the Gold Coast was a great opportunity to turn the spotlight on the city, its facilities and the impending Commonwealth Games.
“We will be just 48 days away from hosting the biggest event Australia will see in more than a decade so we welcome every chance to trial the venue and promote the Games,” Mr. Beattie said.
The 2017 IAAF World Championships bound hurdler, Sally Pearson, is also excited about having the Australian Athletics Championships in her backyard as she continues preparations to defend her Commonwealth title.
“It’s fantastic to hear that the Nationals will be held on the Gold Coast next year. There’s no better place to prepare for a home Commonwealth Games than at the venue in which we will compete for gold, so to have an important championship like this confirmed as a test for the stadium is great,” Pearson said.
“Every time I speak about the Commonwealth Games I am amazed by how fast it is approaching. It’s exciting to see the world preparing to come to my home town and, once we’ve finished competing at London 2017, all roads will lead to Gold Coast 2018. I can’t wait.”
Australia’s junior athletes will also be afforded an opportunity to shine, with Sydney (NSW) to welcome them for the 2018 Australian Junior Athletics Championships on 14-18 March.
The five-day program will also feature an elite grand prix meeting on the Saturday evening, a crucial preparation opportunity for athletes before the competition at Gold Coast 2018 launches the following month.
The New South Wales Minister for Sport, the Hon. Stuart Ayres MP, said that following the success of the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships in Sydney, it is exciting that the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre will host another national competition featuring the next generation of talent.
“The championships will see the country’s future stars compete at our world-class facilities, and the Grand Prix meet is an important event for Australian and international athletes in the lead up to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games,” Mr. Ayres said.
“The New South Wales Government, through the Office of Sport, Sydney Olympic Park Authority and Destination NSW, is proud to support this important event on the athletics calendar.”
To be complemented by a series of championships and athletics meetings to be hosted by the member associations, Athletics Australia’s calendar of competition also includes the Australian 20km and 50km Race Walking Championships, the Australian All Schools Championships and a series of one-day athletics meetings ahead of Gold Coast 2018.
“2018 presents a vital opportunity for Australian athletics to provide outstanding competition options for domestic and international athletes as they prepare for the excitement of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games,” Michael Hall, Athletics Australia Interim Chief Executive Officer, said.
“The partnerships we have struck with relevant agencies in Queensland and New South Wales have allowed us to do that and we now look forward to celebrating the success of Australia’s athletes.
“Our member associations are working tirelessly to complement the national program with competition opportunities for athletes of all ages and abilities. You will struggle to find a weekend where you can’t participate and that’s exciting for the sport.”
Further information, including timetables, entry processes and event rules, will be published on event pages hosted at athletics.com.au shortly.
2017-2018 AUSTRALIAN ATHLETICS SEASON
3 DEC: Australian 50km Race Walking Championships – Melbourne (Vic)
8-10 DEC: Australian All Schools Championships – Adelaide (SA)
11 DEC: Australian Schools Knockout Final – Adelaide (SA)
14 DEC: Australian 10,000m Championship (Zatopek:10) – Melbourne (Vic)
13 JAN: Perth Track Classic – Perth (WA)
19-21 JAN: WA Athletics Championships – Perth (WA)
26-28 JAN: ACT Athletics Championships – Canberra (ACT)
2-4 FEB: NSW, QLD & SA Athletics Championships – Sydney (NSW), Brisbane (Qld) and Adelaide (SA)
11 FEB: Australian 20km Race Walking Championships – Adelaide (SA)
15-18 FEB: Australian Athletics Championships & Nomination Trial – Gold Coast (Qld)
2-4 MAR: VIC Athletics Championships – Melbourne (Vic)
14-18 MAR: Australian Junior Athletics Championships – Sydney (NSW)
17 MAR: Sydney Athletics Grand Prix – Sydney (NSW)
22 MAR: Summer of Athletics Grand Prix – Brisbane (Qld)
23-25 MAR: TAS Athletics Championships – Hobart (Tas)
24 MAR: Summer of Athletics Grand Prix – Brisbane (Qld)
28-29 APR: Australian Little Athletics Championships – Gold Coast (Qld)