2018 Australian Athletics Championships & Nomination Trial:
Day does the double
Teenager Riley Day has completed the 100m-200m national sprint double with a huge personal best in the 200m of 22.93 seconds into a -1.7m/s headwind on Sunday at Carrara Stadium.
Day’s performance was just one of the many highlights on the fourth and final day of the 2018 Australian Athletics Championships & Nomination Trial on the Gold Coast.
The 17-year-old’s time makes her the third fastest junior in Australian history, behind Raelene Boyle and Jenny Lamy who as teenagers finished on the podium at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.
“Wow. I would not have expected that this weekend,” Day beamed. “I knew it was going to be really hard. I knew I had to bring my A game and I am glad I did. I was so nervous before race.”
“To run that time with a headwind, I am absolutely speechless. I am really looking forward to the Games and it’s going to be awesome to be here.”
The World Championship representative lives one-hour west of Carrara Stadium where the Commonwealth Games will be held.
Day led the field off the bend with Victorian Maddison Coates chasing hard to the line to also record the best race of her life (23.06) and achieve the A qualifier for the Commonwealth Games.
“I didn’t even know!” an ecstatic Coates said when learning she had the A qualifier.
“I still see myself as a young, up and coming athlete and then I see Riley, she’s an amazing runner. It would be such a learning experience to compete at a home Games.”
Larissa Pasternatsky (NSW) was third with 23.27 seconds.
In the men’s 200m, Rio Olympian Alex Hartmann (Qld) ran a remarkable 20.57 into a -2.1m headwind to claim his fourth consecutive title. Joseph Millar (Nzl) pushing for Commonwealth Games selection was second (20.60), Zane Branco (Qld, 20.83) was third overall and third Australian was Aaron Bresland (WA, 21.02).
“The Commonwealth Games is obviously enormous and I didn’t want to miss this one,” Brisbane-based Hartmann said.
“That’s a massive confidence booster. Imagine if the wind was turned around, that could be something incredible.
“I dream about Peter Norman’s record (20.06, 1968) and that’s something I’ve certainly got my eye on. Only time will tell I guess. It’s amazing what you can do with the right preparation.”
Brittany McGowan (Qld) ran the fastest time by an Australian woman over 800m for 10 years and moved to number seven on the Australian all-time list after she dropped 1.02 seconds off her big personal best in the 800m (2:00.24), to secure her place on a second Commonwealth Games team.
“I knew I was in good shape and I just held on and I am just so proud of myself,” the 26-year-old said.
McGowan couldn’t be happier with her form ahead of the home Commonwealth Games.
“This actually reminds me a lot of the Glasgow stadium which was completely full when I was ran at the last Commonwealth Games and with a home crowd it’s going to be spectacular.”
World Championship representative Georgia Griffith (Vic) led the field through the first lap in very quick time but when McGowan moved onto her shoulder with 120 metres to run she couldn’t respond. Griffith faded to third behind Angela Petty (NZL) 2:00.73.
The men’s 1500m was a thrilling race with Olympic finalist Ryan Gregson (3:39.66, Vic) coming from well back to run down training partner Jordan Williamsz (3:39.85, Vic) on the line. Rorey Hunter (NSW) finished third (3:40.12), with the top five runners all under the Commonwealth Games B qualifier.
Gregson, who has not raced in five months, showed a strong training block had him headed back to his best following illness and injury. The 27-year-old got pushed back to seventh on the last lap but stayed relaxed and flew home for the win.
“I was pretty confident going into this,” Gregson said following his third consecutive national title.
“I didn’t want to get in the lead, as it was windy. I think the main thing was I stay relaxed when I got pushed back. I was hoping for a gap but with 200m to go I just had to go wide otherwise it was going to be too late. Thankfully I was able to stay relaxed and come away with the win.”
“Getting through the heats at Commonwealth Games and if I am in the top 6 with 200m to go in the final I am pretty sure I can get a medal.”
World championship silver medallist and defending Commonwealth Games champion Dani Stevens (NSW) won her 13th national discus title, and 17 in total with the shot put.
Stevens won with her first-round throw of 65.30 metres. Taryn Gollshewsky (Qld) was second (58.67m), Terina Keenan (Nzl, 56.39) was third. Third placed Australian was Kimberley Mulhall (Vic, 54.86).
“I feel really lucky that I will get to experience two home Commonwealth Games. A lot of athletes don’t get to experience that at all, so I feel like I have come full circle,” said Stevens
“I have really fond memories of Melbourne in 2006. It was my first senior competition and I loved it as a lot of my family could come and watch. I am really excited for this.”
Another athlete who will compete at her second home Commonwealth Games is 400m hurdler Lauren Wells (ACT). She won her eleventh national title on the track before then going and placing third in the long jump.
Wells’ sixth consecutive win equals that of Debbie Flintoff-King. Her winning time of 56.06 seconds at Carrara Stadium secured her automatic nomination for her fourth Commonwealth Games with her fastest nationals winning time since 2010.
“To win a title and automatic selection is fantastic,” Wells said. “The Games are going to be incredible. As a 17-year-old I got to run at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 and it’s still one of my favourite events and performances I have ever been in.”
Wells is looking for that elusive podium after finishing fourth at Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014.
Daniela Roman (Vic) recovered from the disappointment of false starting in the 100m hurdles final last night to run a season best (56.59) for silver in the 400mh. Sarah Carli (NSW) also ran a season best (56.87) for bronze.
In the men’s 400m hurdles, Perth physiotherapist Ian Dewhurst (WA) defended his title (49.70) and secured his place on a second Commonwealth Games team.
There was a strong challenge throughout from Angus Proudfoot (ACT) who ran a huge season best of 50.37. Leigh Bennett (50.73) from NSW was third.
Brooke Stratton (Vic) won a thrilling women’s long jump final on countback from Naa Anang (Qld) this afternoon after both athletes posted best jumps of 6.66m. Stratton’s second-best effort of 6.57m in round three was just two centimetres clear of Anang’s opening mark of 6.55m.
Stratton said that seeing Anang post an A-Qualifier early in the competition had spurred her on to a stronger performance herself.
“I’m very happy obviously to get the win, but Naa pushed me along the way and I definitely probably wouldn’t have jumped that distance if I didn’t have Naa challenging me and bringing out the best in me, so I’m very happy.”
Stratton said the opportunity to have competed at the Commonwealth venue would prove invaluable come April.
“It’s been great getting the experience to compete on this track,” she said. “For me I had to take my run up back 40 to 60cm just because the track is so fast.”
“Just being able to get out there and get a taste of the stadium, it’s been awesome,” Stratton said.
In the men’s long jump 21-year-old Chris Mitrevski (Vic) has retained his national title and earned himself an automatic nomination for the Australian Commonwealth Games team after he leapt 8.09m (+2.1) in the second round to secure his berth.
With Henry Frayne (Qld) a late scratching due to a muscle strain, Mitrevski took it upon himself to ensure his name would be the first on selectors’ lists after he recorded three jumps over his previous season’s best of 7.91m.
Liam Adcock (Qld) took second place (7.81m) with Henry Smith (Vic) finishing in third (7.78m).
Pole vault world championship finalist Kurtis Marschall (SA) needed only three jumps to secure a third consecutive national title and earn an automatic nomination for the Commonwealth Games.
Marschall missed his first attempt at 5.35m but quickly found his groove to progress at the second time of asking. He then sailed over 5.55m which was enough for the title, with WA’s Declan Carruthers producing a season’s best of 5.45m for second place and Stephen Clough (WA) was third Australian with 5.15m.
Heights were hard to come by in the final of the women’s high jump with only Cassie Purdon (Qld) registering a B-Qualification height. Purdon hit a season’s best of 1.86m which secured her a first national title ahead of Eleanor Patterson (Vic).
Patterson entered competition at 1.83m which she cleared at the first attempt. Her campaign however, stalled at 1.86m with the reigning Commonwealth Champion bowing out following three unsuccessful attempts. Zoe Timmers (WA) was third with 1.80m.
In the 200m ambulant finals on Sunday, world record holder James Turner (NSW, T36) won the men’s 200m his performance of 24.23 seconds. World championship medallist Chad Perris (ACT, T13) won silver and Andrew Semmens (Vic, T20) the bronze.
In the following race, Stephanie Schweitzer (NSW, T/F20) won 200m gold in 28.50 seconds. West Australian Rhiannon Clarke the silver and Tamsin Colley (NSW, T36) the bronze.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Hamish Peacock (Tas) ensured that his dominance of the men’s javelin over the domestic season didn’t go unrewarded after he secured automatic nomination for the Australian Commonwealth Games team by clinching gold in Sunday’s final.
It didn’t go all his way however, he was forced to find a 79.38m effort in the fifth round after Kiwi raider Benjamin Langton Burnell (Nzl) opened with a 78.20m throw and Josh Robinson (Qld) posted 77.21m in the second round. Third Australian was Cruz Hogan (WA) 76.87m.
James Nipperess (NSW) ran himself to the point of physical duress in winning the men’s 3000m Steeplechase final, which left him prostrate on the track and in the hands of medical staff after his winning time of 8:43.89 mins saw him achieve the automatic nomination standard for April’s Commonwealth Games.
Nipperess outlasted Max Stevens (SA) in a sprint to the line (8:44.84) following a gruelling final, contested in warm and humid conditions.
In the women’s steeplechase, Victoria Mitchell (Vic) won the title in 9:45.37 and secured her automatic nomination for the Commonwealth Games Team. Paige Campbell (NSW, 9:49.00) and Rosie Donegan (Vic, 9:50.61) were impressive running B-qualifiers.
In one of the final events of the competition schedule, Victorian Damien Birkenhead reinforced his status as Australia’s premiere shot put talent, easily accounting for the rest of the field as he won a fifth national title with a best effort of 20.02m.
Birkenhead opened with a heave of 19.10m and extended that advantage in the second round before sitting out the remainder of competition as the field battled out for the minor medals. Aiden Harvey (NSW) took second place with WA’s Matt Cowie third.
At the end of the four-day national championships, the Australian team had grown to 65 athletes (eight para events and 57 able-bodied. The numbers included previously announced athletes and those who achieved automatic nomination over the championships. During the week, the selectors will finalise the remaining 46 positions.
Courtesy of Athletics Australia