A bounty of Australia’s best sprinters will descend on the nation’s capital today for a 4x100m relay training camp, ahead of competition at the Canberra Track Classic this weekend.

Coming together for a three-day program that is designed to improve relay running technique and build camaraderie among the developing stock of Australian sprinting talent, the camp has been made possible by the Gold Coast GOLD Relay Program.

Ella Nelson (NSW) is one of the attendees, with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualified 21-year-old looking forward to the opportunities ahead before taking to the track for the 100m and 200m on Saturday 20 February.

“The relay camp is a great opportunity. It’s amazing to come together with other sprinters, and the girls in the 4x100m squad, to not only improve our ability to run relays but to build upon relationships so that when we travel on teams we do so as friends,” Nelson said.

“Realistically, if a relay team qualifies for the Olympic Games, or any other major championship for that matter, it gives you another chance to compete on a world stage and that’s what it is all about. I will be fortunate enough to compete as an individual too, but there is something special about getting out there as a team and competing for your country.”

Nelson improved her personal best to 22.84 (w: +0.5) at the ACT Athletics Championships two weeks ago, with the performance moving her into the top-ten on the Australian All-Time List. She is now determined to consistently perform at this level.

“My result at the ACT Championships was great, and I now expect to keep running quicker than 23 seconds. I want my times across the season to be consistently at that sort of pace,” Nelson said.

“If I can do that, I think I’ll be in a position to keep building on that before Rio, with times even quicker when I get to compete there. I’d love to break the national record at some point. It may not be this year but it is in my sights.”

“Sorry Melinda,” Nelson joked, in reference to the current record holder Melinda Gainsford-Taylor.

Nelson will be joined on the start line for the short sprints by Melissa Breen (ACT, 100m, 200m), the current Australian 100m record holder, Ashleigh Whittaker (Vic, 100m, 200m) and Monica Brennan (Vic, 200m), while Michelle Jenneke (NSW) and Abbie Taddeo (NSW) will duel in the 100m hurdles. Lauren Wells (ACT) will compete in the 400m hurdles.

In the men’s events, the Rio 2016 qualified Alexander Hartmann (Qld) starts in both the men’s 100m and 200m alongside Jack Hale (Tas), Tim Leathart (NSW) and a returning Josh Ross (Vic). The 400m features Alex Beck (Qld) and Craig Burns (Qld), as Tristan Thomas (Tas) starts in the men’s 400m hurdles.

Brooke Stratton (Vic) also returns to where she jumped the Rio 2016 standard, competing in the women’s long jump. Her season best of 6.79m moves her to fourth on the Australian All-Time List. The men’s event features London 2012 Olympian Henry Frayne (Qld) and IAAF World Under 18 Championships silver medallist Darcy Roper (Qld).

In the high jump, Commonwealth Games champion Eleanor Patterson (Vic) is scheduled to start, as are Brandon Starc (NSW) and Joel Baden (Vic) in the men’s event.

Patterson was disappointed by her performance at the Hunter Track Classic last month and is confident she can make amends at the Australian Institute of Sport this weekend.“I love what I do, for I am very blessed, and I always look forward to competing and a new opportunity,” Patterson said.

“I am not looking at the past and not looking at the future, I am living in the present, trusting in my coach, in all those who support me, especially within myself and even more so in God’s will.”

Rounding out the highlights at the Canberra Track Classic is the men’s and women’s javelin, with Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Hamish Peacock (Tas) and Kelsey-Lee Roberts(ACT) featuring on entry lists alongside Olympic finalist Kathryn Mitchell (Vic).

For more information on the Canberra Track Classic, including the event timetable and entry lists, please click here.

To purchase tickets to the Canberra Track Classic, and other events on the Australian Athletics Tour, please click here.

The Canberra instalment of the Australian Athletics Tour will be held in conjunction with the Adelaide Track Classic. This event will welcome Australian record holders Alex Rowe (Vic) andAlana Boyd (Qld), among others, with further details available here.

Gold Coast GOLD Relay Training Camp:

Men’s 4x100m Relay – Team 1:

Alexander Hartmann (Qld), Jin Su Jung (NSW), Trae Williams (Qld), Tom Gamble (Qld) 

Men’s 4x100m Relay – Team 2:

Josh Ross (Vic), Jack Hale (Tas), Tim Leathart (NSW), TBC

 Women’s 4x100m Relay:

Monica Brennan (Vic), Ella Nelson (NSW), Ashleigh Whittaker (Vic), Elly Graf (NSW)