Melbourne, Australia; 5 February 2024 –  Idols will turn into rivals at the Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne as USA’s Queen Harrison Claye lands down under to meet Australia’s own hurdling royalty, with Olympians Liz Clay and Michelle Jenneke bound for the spotlight at Lakeside Stadium next Thursday, February 15.

In an international affair worthy of the global stage, the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold event will also feature Japanese record holder Mako Fukube and Canada’s Michelle Harrison, while three of Australia’s five fastest 100m hurdlers, Clay, Jenneke with World Athletics Championships representative Hannah Jones will relish the energy of the home crowd.

For Clay, the race presents an opportunity to compete against the best and enjoy the revitalised 2024 Chemist Warehouse Summer Series, having endured an extensive rehabilitation program after sustaining an injury at the 2022 World Athletics Championships.

Photo by: Queen Harrison-Claye (@goQueengo) / X

“Having this amazing field for my return to the domestic athletics circuit, I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to start the season. The pressure is on, there will be a great crowd in Melbourne and I’m looking forward to having a big race as the first one,” Clay said.

“I’m excited to put my name back on the map and remind people who Liz Clay is and how fast she can go.”

The Australian who last weekend clocked 12.91 (+2.3) in her season opener to finish 0.01-seconds behind Jenneke will be forced to bring her best against US hurdle star Claye, who owns a 12.43 career-best and is returning to racing after the birth of her first child.

“Queen Claye has been my favourite hurdler since I started hurdling. I have always loved her energy and personality, the whole vibe. I have always looked up to her, so hearing that she was going to be at this meet – 17-year-old Liz is screaming,” Clay said.

“I think I’m in Tokyo or 2021 shape. It really feels like everything is coming together and everyone in my team is pretty confident, so I just have to put it down on the track.”

The decorated American is equally aware of the challenge ahead of her, with the five-time Diamond League Meeting winner and World Championships finalist finding good reason for her Australian debut.

“I’m excited to race in Australia for the first time. Especially at the meet that honors my friend Maurie Plant,” Claye said.


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“Australia has a great tradition in hurdling with Sally Pearson having reached the pinnacle of the sport and a strong contingent of current hurdlers. With Michelle Jenneke and now Liz Clay on the comeback, I am going to have my work cut out for me, but I’m excited for the challenge.”

The international credentials of Japanese record holder Fukube and compatriot Yumi Tanaka, along with Canada’s Harrison will combine to form a high-calibre Women’s 100m Hurdles event at Lakeside Stadium – also featuring Australian Danielle Shaw as the final field continues to take shape.

Tickets to the Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne at Lakeside Stadium on February 15 can be purchased HERE.

The Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne is supported by World Athletics and the Victorian Government via Visit Victoria and part of the Chemist Warehouse Summer Series. The meet will be streamed live and free on Seven’s digital platform, 7plus.