Over twelve month on and 2012 London Olympian Jeff Riseley has put injury worries behind him to claim the 1500m national crown in 3:46.47 on day four of the Australian Athletics Championships.
“I was really badly injured after the Olympics, I put everything into it, you get clouded judgment, work hard and unfortunately caused an injury and about a twelve month lay off,” Riseley said.
“The season hasn’t go quite the way I wanted it to, its been tough, I’m putting in a lot of effort and just keep getting beating by Ralph (Joshua), but, you get knocked down a bit but keep getting up.”
Riseley the third fastest Australian over 1500m made up for the disappointment of the 800m on day three to beat New South Wales Ryan Gregson (3:48.01) and fellow Victorian Brenton Rowe (3:49.27) to ensure automatic selection for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“I had a lot of mental energy in that one (800m) and if I could get through that I was a good chance today, I lead it to 70m to go and thought I had a metre on the straight and I was like come on, come on, come on, it was pretty windy and when they come up on you I had to respond and proved I can do it again.”
Victorian Institute of Sport athlete Brooke Stratton’s break out season culminated with the long jump stars final attempt producing the ‘A’ qualifying standard she has been chasing all season.
Stratton delivered a final distance of 6.70m to claim her spot on the Australian team for the July Commonwealth Games.
Having come close at the Perth Track Classic with a distance of 6.62m, the nerves may have been bubbling before today's competition, but, it was pure excitement for Stratton as the distance was read out across the stadium.
Fellow VIS athlete Damien Birkinhead also added his name to the list of Australia’s heading to Glasgow with a throw of 19.04m clinching the national title and automatic selection.
“The season panned out the way I hoped, working on getting more consistency and b-qualifiers, it would have been nice to get a personal best but I had a good go,” Birkinhead said.
“Today went really well, very consistent again, all around the same distance, I'm really happy with how it went.”
Birkinhead will head to Glasgow on his first senior Australian team and couldn’t be happier.
“It’s pretty exciting to go over to Scotland, my mum is from Edinburgh so be good to have family over there and hopefully go over and perform really well.”
Mister consistent this season is Box Hill pole vaulter Joel Pocklington having clinched nine b-qualifying standards across the season and claiming a personal best of 5.41m in Newcastle earlier in the year won the national title with a height of 5.25m.
“I couldn’t of asked for a better season, this has been the best season of my life and to be able to cap it off that way is the icing on the cake,” Pocklington said.
“It was the most stressful competition of my life, I've never been in that position in such a major meet before and to win is incredible.”
World Youth Champion Eleanor Patterson confirmed her status as Australia’s number one women high jumper after claiming the national title at a height of 1.92m.
“It’s was a tough competition that’s for sure but it's great to finally be officially on the plane to Glasgow,” Patterson said.
Going in as favourite didn’t seem to phase Patterson whose goal is to just keep on improving and get the best out of herself.
“It was really good conditions, I didn’t notice the wind much and it was nice and warm on the track so it was fantastic.”
Glasgow now becomes a reality for Patterson who wasn’t sure what the plan was for this season until jumping 1.96m at the Australian All Schools Championships in Townsville late December last year.
“I was undecided on what I was aiming for but after that competition (Australian All Schools Championships) I was definitely going to go for the Commonwealth Games.”
“In any competition all I want to do is be the best I can be, jump the highest I can and a personal best is always the goal.”
Sandringham's Ashleigh Whittaker impressed on the final day of action by finishing second in the women's 200m final with a time of 23.55 behind New South Wales Ella Nelson who won in 23.47.
“I knew I had to work that bend with Ash (Whittaker) on my outside. She was always going to push me and then I had Mel to deal with on the straight as well so I am very excited to come away with the win and the spot on the team for Glasgow,” Nelson said.
92nd Australian Athletics Championships
Athletics Australia will now nominate its initial squad of athletes to the Australian Commonwealth Games Association for ratification ahead of a media event announcing the first segment of the team this Wednesday 9 April. Additional details about this will be issued tomorrow.