Brisbane, Australia – Momentum is building towards the business end of the 100th edition of the Australian Track and Field Championships, with athletes set to go head-to-head in the highly anticipated finals on Saturday and Sunday at the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre in Brisbane.
Click here for recap of Day 1
Click here for recap of Day 2
After intense competition and impressive performances over the first two days, Australia’s premier athletes will now converge to compete not only for national glory, but to impress selectors ahead of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest and World Para Athletics Championships in July.
In addition to being the pinnacle event in Australian athletics, the 2023 edition of the Australian Track and Field Championships also serves as the selection trial for the Budapest championships, with the first spots on the Australian team up for grabs this weekend.
Athletes who have met the qualifying standard for Budapest and have competed in at least two meets of the national Chemist Warehouse Summer Series will confirm their place on the Australian team, when placing first or second in their championship finals this weekend. A second round of selection will be made in July.
Heralded as the most competitive event of the championships, Saturday’s Women’s 1500m will see the country’s top four middle distance stars dazzle on the track, with national record holder Jessica Hull, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Abbey Caldwell, Olympic finalist Linden Hall and Tokyo Olympian Georgia Griffith all set to showcase their competitive edge ahead of selection.
“The 1500m is in an incredible spot right now. We get to practice a true Championships rounds and finals in Australia, and whoever makes this team for Budapest is going to be in better shape for it having done two solid rounds in Australia,” said Hull, who finished with the fastest qualifying time in the preliminary rounds.
Echoing her World Athletics Cross Country Championships relay team mate and fiercest competitor, Caldwell said:
“It’s going to be a big event but it makes it more exciting. I’m really looking forward to it because it will be at the level of international racing but here in Australia. It means a lot and everyone is fighting for the same spot, so it will be competitive.”
The nation’s premier sprinters made light work of the preliminary round of the 100m but there will be no room for error in tomorrow’s race to be crowned the fastest man and woman in Australia.
The flying mullet Rohan Browning clocked a swift 10.18 in his preliminary round and will be looking to reclaim the title after missing the last edition of the championships, while former beach sprinter Bree Masters will take on Under 20 star Torrie Lewis in the sprint to the finish line.
Back-to-back world champion and Olympic bronze medallist Kelsey-Lee Barber remains unseen in 2023 but with world-class credentials and the reputation of a big-time performance, will take on Olympic finalist and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Mackenzie Little in the Women’s Javelin final.
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Starting on the blocks this weekend will be a star-studded cast in the Men’s 100m Ambulant as Paralympic gold medallists James Turner (T36) and Evan O’Hanlon (T38) come up against reigning national champion, the youthful Jaydon Page (T47) who has sprinted to consecutive Australian records in recent weeks.
On Sunday, Olympic silver medallist Nicola Olyslagers will be making her case for a fourth consecutive title and selection to the Budapest team, after posting a dazzling 1.98m season opener in Canberra earlier this year.
Also competing on the final day competition will be star sprint hurdler Olympian Michelle Jenneke who headlines a slick field which includes four of Australia’s all-time top-10 hurdlers. The Olympian who is just as famous for her colourful pre-competition routine will be challenged by sub-13 hurdlers, Commonwealth Games representative Celeste Mucci and Gold Coast’s Hannah Jones,as well as Abbie Taddeo.
Continuing the strong line up and tradition of strong female athletes, Olympic finalist Brooke Buschkuehl will go head-to-head with World Championships representative Samantha Dale. The two have faced off three times this season so far, with the younger of the pair, Dale ahead with two wins. Despite their recent match ups, Buschkuehl’s 6.73m qualifier for the final puts her in strong contention to claim her fifth Open title;
Australian pole vaulter Kurtis Marschall will also be back in action on Sunday after meeting the qualifying height in today’s preliminary round with ease. Marschall continues a stellar season which has seen him soar to heights of 5.91m indoors and 5.85m in wet conditions just last week at the Brisbane Track Classic.
Tickets for the championships are still available, with both single day and weekend passes on offer. Fans can also catch the action live and free on 7plus. Tickets are available to purchase HERE.
For more information on the 2023 Chemist Warehouse Australian Track and Field Championships, click HERE.
Media release thanks to Athletics Australia