2013 world championships 1500 metre finalist Zoe Buckman will kick start her 2014 season this Saturday at the 25th Briggs Athletics Classic in Hobart.
Buckman will headline a strong field of Victorians heading to the Apple Isle for the third stop on the Australian national athletics tour.
“I have undergone a solid training block at Falls Creek and feel fitter going into the new season,” Buckman said.
“I was able to find consistency at Falls and training on the trails will make running on the track feel a bit like air.”
Buckman will enter the women’s 1500 metre race as the one to beat and with a personal best of 4:04.82 minutes adds serious class to the field.
“I haven’t run on track since September, so I’m looking forward to my first hit out.”
The 2012 Olympic Games semi-finalist will be focused on clinching the Australian Commonwealth Games ‘A’ qualifying time of 4:07.00 minutes at her first major hit out for the 2014 season.
“I’m definitely keen to get the qualifier out of the way but the win is the priority and hopefully the qualifying time comes with that,” Buckman said.
The Victorian Institute of Sport athlete had a strong 2013 to become one of the world’s leading women 1500 metre runners and a seventh place finish at the recent world championships in Moscow has signalled a bright future for Buckman.
“I’m still in my early athletics development years and will only benefit from last season,” Buckman said.
“I have adapted well to the larger training load and feel I’m now reaping the benefits and becoming more mentally stronger and confident in my own ability to compete at the highest level.”
Buckman indicated the 1500 metres would be her focus in 2014 but still enjoys racing over 800 metres.
“I like the 800 metres because it’s over so quick and it will also help with my 1500 metres.”
Victoria will be well represented in the men’s 5000 metres with eight out of 21 on the start list, an event Ballarat’s Collis Birmingham has dominated at the Briggs Track Classic over recent years, winning five of the last six and setting a meet record of 13:15.57 minutes in 2012.
Athletics Essendon pair Liam Adams and Mitchel Brown will head up Victoria’s assault on this year’s 5000 metre event.
Adams has already secured an Australian ‘A’ Commonwealth Games qualifier in the marathon and comes into the event having set a personal best of 13:31.21 minutes at 5000 metres early last year in California, United States.
Brown and Adams will have hot favourite, News South Wales Ben St Lawrence to chase down to continue Victoria’s strong showing in the distance.
A host of field athletes will be firing for Victoria this weekend with Luke Cann looking to work on his current Australian Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifying throw of 73.82 metres in the Javelin as will Damien Birkinhead in the shot put, the Corio athlete threw 18.64 metres at the Zatopek:10 meet last December in Melbourne to surpass the ‘B’ qualifying standard of 18.15 metres.
Athletics Nunawading jumper Brooke Stratton heads to Hobart having finished first at the Victorian Country Championships as an invite athlete in the women’s open long jump with a distance of 6.35 metres.
Stratton has already clinched an Australian Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifying jump of 6.53 metres but will be eager to close in on the ‘A’ qualifier of 6.65 metres.
Full list of Victorian athletes competing at the Briggs Athletics Classic:
Men Javelin (800gm) Open – Luke Cann
Women 400 Metres Open – Katherine Katsanevakis, Billie Arch
Men Long Jump Open – Jamie Stratton
Men 400 Metres Open – Fraser Russell, Sam Reiser, Conrad Coumaros
Men 800 Metres B Open – Jack Holden, Nicholas Finch, Tony Crawford
Women 100 Metres Open – Adora Arch, Emily Lawson
Men Shot Put (7.26kg) Open – Damien Birkinhead
Women Shot Put (4kg) Open – Kimbererley Mulhall
Men 100 Metres Open – Aidan Debernadi
Women 400 Metres Hurdles (,76m) Open – Ashleigh Horrobin, Felicity Black
Men 400 Metres Hurdles (.91m) Open – Tom Robertson
Women Hammer Throw (4.0kg) Open – Emma Werner, Natalie Debeljuh, Gabrielle Neighbour
Men 1500 Metres Open – Michael Marantelli, Daniel Clark, Zak Patterson, Luke Mathews, Ryan Geard, Alex Rowe
Women Long Jump Open – Corinna Minko, Brooke Stratton
Women 200 Metres Open – Emily Lawson
Men 200 Metres Open – Will Johns, Aidan Debernadi
Men 800 Metres Open – Lachlan Barber, Eddie Vinning, Darcy Sutton, Fraser Russell
Women 1500 Metres Open – Coreena Cleland, Melissa Duncan, Eliza Curnow, Zoe Buckman, Katherine Katsanevakis
Men 5000 Metres Open – Jack Rayner, Jack Davies, Toby Rayner, Brady Threlfall, Nick Wightman, Josh Harris, Anthony Aloisio, Liam Adams
The Briggs Athletics Classic will take place at the Domain Athletic Centre, Hobart on Saturday 1 February, with the main program starting at 6.00pm.
Tickets are available via Centertainment, through athletics clubs or at the gate. Adults – $15; Children (under 16) – $5; children under 6, competing athletes and little athletes – free.
Click here for event information and entry lists.