Gregson, Harradine, Hills & Mitchell to fly Australian flag at IAAF Diamond League in Doha
Ryan Gregson (NSW, 1500m), Benn Harradine (Qld, discus throw), Madeline Hills (NSW, 3000m) and Kathryn Mitchell (Vic, javelin) will fly the Australian flag at the IAAF Diamond League in Doha (QAT) tomorrow.
Marking the return of the world’s most prestigious track and field series as anticipation ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games continues to build, entry lists for the event confirm the start of Australia’s impressive quartet alongside 38 champions and 80 medallists from the Olympic Games, IAAF World and World Indoor Championships.
For more information on the IAAF Diamond League in Doha (QAT), please click here.
Competition continues on Sunday 8 May at the Golden Grand Prix in Kawasaki (JPN), with a plethora of green and gold starters confirmed.
Entries on the track include Melissa Breen (ACT, 100m), Lauren Wells (ACT, 400m hurdles), Brittany McGowan (Qld, 800m) and Josh Ralph (NSW, 800m), while in the field Brooke Stratton (Vic, long jump) and Hamish Peacock (Tas) are among the starters.
A 17-strong green and gold team headlined by Jared Tallent (Vic) has arrived in Rome (ITA) for the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships on 7-8 May 2016.
To compete in the shadows of the famed Colosseum, the Australian contingent, which also includes the Olympic Games bound Brendon Reading (ACT), Dane Bird-Smith (Qld) and Rachel Tallent (Vic), will take to the start line after most have prepared for battle at the Australian Institute of Sport’s training base in Varese (ITA).
“It’s great to see the championships here in Rome, we’re going to get the chance to race around the Colosseum. It’s an amazing venue and hopefully people support the event. Italians traditionally do, they have a number of great walkers and they’ve hosted this event more times than anyone else,” Tallent said.
“The team has prepared really well too. We’ve had the chance to spend some time at the Australia Institute of Sport base in Varese, northern Italy, and that’s been a big positive before a big championships. We have a chance to do really well here, the team is strong and I’m confident of great results. Fingers crossed it’s a memorable experience.”
J. Tallent will be Australia’s only starter in the men’s 50km race walk, the same event he has recently been recognised as the Olympic Games gold medallist from London 2012.
He is a three-time medallist in the event at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships, with a podium finish setting him up for a tilt toward continued medal winning success at Rio 2016.
“I’ve had an interrupted preparation to be honest, but have come through a good block of training in Flagstaff and was surprised by my first race over 20 kilometres. It was a lot faster than I thought it would be and since then things are going really well. I’m quite confident, I’m hoping for another medal,” Tallent added.
“This race is very important before Rio. I’m executing a very similar preparation to four years ago and I think a really good hit out will give me a big boost of confidence leading into the Olympic Games. A good time and good finish will launch me toward something big later in the year.”
Bird-Smith, who placed 8th at the 2015 IAAF World Championships, and Reading will be joined by Rhydian Cowley (Vic), Michael Hosking (Vic) and Nathan Brill (Vic) to complete Australia’s five-strong squad for the men’s 20km walk, while R. Tallent starts alongside Regan Lamble (Vic), Beki Smith (NSW), Tanya Holliday (SA) and Stephanie Stigwood (Tas) in the women’s event.
Australia has aspirations for team success in both races, with competition doubling as the final race opportunity before Athletics Australia Selectors meet to determine those athletes who will be nominated for selection to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Six junior athletes will also don the green and gold. Adam Garganis (Vic), Tyler Jones (NSW), and Kyle Swan (Vic) will start in the boy’s 10km walk, while Tayla-Paige Billington (Vic), Zoe Hunt (ACT) and Clara Smith (Qld) will compete in the girl’s race.
For more information on the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships, including race previews for each event, please click here to visit the event sub-site at iaaf.org.
Australia has a rich history of success at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships, winning eight individual medals including gold to Simon Baker (Vic). The men’s team, combining the performances of the three best-placed athletes in the 20km event, has also won two medals, including silver in 2006.
In Taicang (CHN) two years ago, the team won three bronze medals, with J. Tallent crossing third in the men’s 50km walk and the junior boys and girls winning team trophies.