Six Big V stars named on Australia’s Commonwealth Youth Games team

Athletics Australia nominated the 13-girls and the 13-boys to the ACGA after the Australian Junior Athletics Championships in Sydney last month brought the athletics season to a close.

The Harding-Delooze sisters were born in Sydney on July 21, 1998 – the year of the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur – and will be 17 when they compete in Samoa.

The Commonwealth Youth Games will be staged in Apia between September 5-12 with the athletics competition at Apia Park, a stadium with a 15,000 seating capacity.

Family traditions are certainly not unfamiliar in Australia’s strong Commonwealth Games history with our most recent team to Glasgow last year featuring pole vaulting duos, WA sisters

Vicky and Liz Parnov and Queensland brother and sister Matthew and Alan Boyd alongside swimming’s Campbell sisters Bronte and Cate and brother and sister David and Emma McKeon.

The 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton saw Italian-born Australian cycling twin brothers, Sal and Remo Sansonetti chosen to carry the Australian flag in the opening ceremony – the first time the honour had been shared.

There was certainly a similar dose of double celebration when the phone rang in the HardingDelooze household with not one but both twins notified by Athletics Australia they had been selected for Samoa.

“We honestly couldn’t believe it,” said Amy, “we were running up and down the house yelling and screaming..we are both just so happy.“

To get the chance to represent Australia is special in itself, to get the chance to do it together alongside your sister is amazing…we can’t wait…we wish it was tomorrow.”

Amy will contest the 1500 metres while Lily will line up in the 800 metres in a team that includes nine athletes from NSW; seven from Queensland; six from Victoria; three from WA and one from the ACT.

“We do so much together – we are even sharing the same bedroom at the moment with my Nana staying from England,” said Lily.

“We run together under Ken Green at the Sydney Running Academy; we compete together for Randwick Botany; we even study the same subjects for the Higher School Certificate at St Clare’s College, Waverley.

“And to go to the Commonwealth Youth Games with Amy is really very special and like my sister I have goals to one day represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.

“This is such a great stepping stone and to join other young sportsmen and women from other sports and other countries is amazing – it’s going to be so much fun.

“We recently had a visit from Melinda Gainsford-Taylor who spoke of her exploits at the Commonwealth Games and Olympics and that was inspiring.”

And the identical twins have had some close battles in their short but very competitive careers – none closer than last year’s Australian All-Schools 800 metres final.

To those in the grandstand in Adelaide it was a dead-heat and they were both given the same time, 2:09.74 but after much deliberation and consultation with the photo finish print Lily was awarded the gold medal by just 0.0005.

“The ACGA is pleased to announce the appointment of the 26 Track and Field athletes to the 2015 Australian CYG Team for Samoa. The Athletics section is always one of the largest groups of athletes in our team and we are confident this group will proudly represent Australia at these Fifth Commonwealth Youth Games,” said ACGA CEO, Perry Crosswhite.

“The team selected is one that will compete for Australia proudly and we wish them every success in Samoa this September,” said Sara Mulkearns, Athletics Australia Junior High Performance Manager.

“The chance to compete for your country is an exciting one, and we are confident the experience will help prepare the athletes for success at future international competition events  including the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

“We thank the Australian Commonwealth Games Association for affording such an important international competition opportunity to this developing group of talented athletes.”

The Harding-Delooze sisters are in a team that also includes:

– Box Hill, Victoria sprinter Nana-Adoma Owusu-Afriyie, who finished second in the Australian Junior 100m final in 11.85 ahead of Queensland’s hurdler Kirra Womersley who will contest the 100m hurdles.

– Youth Olympic Team shot put star Grace Robinson from Bethany College, Hurstville in Sydney

– Victoria’s Under 16 Australian women’s discus champion Bianca Hansen from Ringwood

– Fellow Victorian, Under 18 Australian 400m hurdles champion Harrison Kimpton-Moss

– Under 16 Australian 1500m record holder Xavier Smith from Victoria and Queenslander Brodie Modini

– WA 100m sprint star Lachlan McDermott

– Australian junior long jump silver medallist Thomas Wilson from Diamond Valley (VIC).

– Queensland’s Under 18 400m Australian silver medallist Madeline Attlee and;

– Long jump bronze medallist from the Australian Juniors Billie Arch from Cairnlea in the north western suburbs of Melbourne.

The athletics track at Apia Park currently has an 8-lane Balsam all-weather synthetic 400m track, one full sized Rugby field as well as a Long Jump pit, Shot Put Circle, Discus circle, Javelin runway, High Jump area and a Pole Vault runway.

There is a 4-lane warm up track on field 4 and the Athletics track will be resurfaced in time for the Games.

The Australian team will be led by Australia’s greatest ever Paralympian, swimmer Matthew Cowdrey, who was recently appointed as the Team’s General Manager.

26 named for world championships

Twenty-six of Australia’s best are confirmed as starters at Beijing 2015, with Athletics Australia Selectors today declaring the selection of the initial green and gold contingent bound for the IAAF World Championships in August.

Headlined by Sally Pearson (Qld, 100m hurdles), Kim Mickle (WA, javelin) and Jared Tallent (Vic, 20km walk, 50km walk), who all won medals at the championships two years ago, the impressively strong squad also includes Commonwealth champions Eleanor Patterson (Vic, high jump), Alana Boyd (Qld, pole vault) and Dani Samuels (NSW, discus throw), as well as Australian record holders Melissa Breen (ACT, 100m) and Alex Rowe(Vic, 800m).

Set to join them are a bounty of national champions from the recently completed 93rd Australian Athletics Championships, including the Commonwealth Games finalist Jeff Riseley (Vic, 800m), IAAF World Junior Championships medallist Nicholas Hough (NSW, 110m hurdles), Youth Olympic Games silver medallistBrandon Starc (NSW, high jump), two-time NCAA champion Julian Wruck (Qld, discus throw) and Glasgow 2014 representatives Ella Nelson (NSW, 200m) and Lauren Wells (ACT, 400m hurdles).

“The intention of the Selection Policy is to nominate the most competitive possible team to represent Australia, and following the Nationals this past weekend it is exciting to announce the initial selections for Beijing 2015,”Dion Russell, the Athletics Australia Chairman of Selectors, said.

“Thirteen of the athletes announced today selected themselves as national champions with at least one IAAF qualification standard. The remaining athletes boasted at least one qualifier at the time of the initial selection meeting, and they have been selected at the discretion of the selectors now to ensure the longest possible lead time for preparation to compete at the IAAF World Championships. We believe this is in the best interests of the athletes and we wish them every success in the build-up to Beijing.”

The Athletics Australia Selectors will next convene in the week commencing 18 May 2015. At this time, the final selections for the men’s and women’s marathon, 10,000m and 50km walk will be determined.

All other events, excluding the 20km walk which will be selected in the week commencing 8 June 2015, will then be considered at the Final Selectors Meeting on 10 August 2015. This follows the close of the IAAF Qualification Period, providing athletes with the greatest possible period of time to stake their claim for Australian Flame selection.

The 2015 IAAF World Championships, the 15th instalment of the event, will be held in Beijing (CHN) on 22-30 August 2015. It will mark the return of international athletics to the Bird’s Nest for the first time since the 2008 Olympic Games.

The Australian Flame team at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow (RUS) was 46-strong, and won three medals (two silver, one bronze). Two years earlier at Daegu 2011, the squad placed 8th on the medal table with one gold (Pearson, 100m hurdles), one silver (Mitchell Watt, long jump) and one bronze (Tallent, 50km walk).

Athletics Australia will prepare for Beijing 2015 at a team camp in Wakayama (JPN), with the first contingent of athletes and team staff to arrive in the host city on 19 August 2015.

For more information on the IAAF World Championships, please click here.

IAAF World Championships
Beijing (CHN)
22-30 August 2015

MEN (10)
800m: Jeff Riseley (Vic), Alex Rowe (Vic)
110m hurdles: Nicholas Hough (NSW)
High jump: Joel Baden (Vic), Brandon Starc (NSW)
Discus throw: Julian Wruck (Qld)
Javelin: Hamish Peacock (Tas)
20km walk: Dane Bird-Smith (Qld), Jared Tallent (Vic)
50km walk: Chris Erickson (Vic), Jared Tallent (Vic)

WOMEN (16)
100m: Melissa Breen (ACT)
200m: Ella Nelson (NSW)
5000m: Eloise Wellings (NSW)*
100m hurdles: Michelle Jenneke (NSW), Sally Pearson (Qld)
400m hurdles: Lauren Wells (ACT)
3000m steeplechase: Madeline Heiner (NSW), Victoria Mitchell (NSW)
High jump: Eleanor Patterson (Vic)
Pole vault: Alana Boyd (Qld), Nina Kennedy (WA)
Long jump: Brooke Stratton (Vic)
Discus throw: Dani Samuels (NSW)
Javelin: Kim Mickle (WA), Kathryn Mitchell (Vic), Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT)

Selection Notes:
1.     The selection of Eloise Wellings is subject to ratification of her 5000m performance on 26 March 2015. We are awaiting notification from the IAAF.
2.     13 of these selected athletes have achieved the IAAF qualification standard and also won their respective event at the 2015 Australian Athletics Championships.
3.     A further 13 athletes holding priority status have also been selected on the basis of having at least one IAAF qualification standard.

AV laurel wreath top 10 count-down

With AV memberships now open for the 2015/16 season we start the laurel wreath top 10 count-down:

Name: Ellen Pettitt
Age: 28 years-old
Club: Athletics Essendon
Coach: Vasily Grishchenkov

2014 Achievement: Pettitt finished second in the triple jump at the Australian Athletics Championships in Melbourne, with a leap of 13.43m enough to secure the Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifying standard of 13.25m.

Pettitt was subsequently selected for the Australian Commonwealth Games team and finished fifth in the triple jump final in Glasgow, including a personal best jump of 13.54m.


Name: Decathlete Steve Cain (AUS)
Age: 30 years-old
Club: St Kevin’s AAC
Coach: Efim Shuravestsky

2014 Achievement: The two-time national decathlon champion was selected for his first open age major international competition; after 7,493 points at the Australian Athletics Championships Cain secured a spot on the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games team.

The St Kevin’s multi-athlete recorded his second best ever points total of 7,787 to finish fifth overall in the Decathlon.


Name: Damien Birkinhead
Age: 21 years-old
Club: Corio Athletic Club
Coach: Scott Martin

2014 Achievement: Birkinhead topped the men’s shot put at the Australian Athletics Championships with a throw of 19.04m and claimed a Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifying standard in the process.

In 2014 the ‘Corio Colossus’ tracked better in his career progression than coach and Australian record holder Scott Martin at this age and, with a distance of 19.59m Birkinhead finished fifth in the shot put at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.


Name: Liam Adams
Age: 28 years-old
Club: Athletics Essendon
Coach: Ken Hall

2014 Achievement: Having represented Australia on six occasions at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Adams’ selection for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games was his first multi-sport major international championship representation for Australia.

In 2013 Adams ran a Glasgow standard of 2:14.09 at the Melbourne Marathon to qualify for the 42.195km event.

On the opening day of the athletics program in Glasgow Australia was the standout nation and, Adams went on to record a personal best of 2:13.49; finishing seventh overall.


Name: Brooke Stratton
Age: 21 years-old
Club: Athletics Nunawading Inc
Coach: Russell Stratton

2014 Achievement: The two-time world junior finalist had one of her best seasons to date; with a personal best of 6.70m at the Australian Athletics Championships in Melbourne enough to secure the ‘A’ qualifying standard for 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Australian title.

Stratton’s outstanding season was cut short on the brink of the Glasgow Games due to injury, forcing the Nunawading athlete to miss out on her first senior international Australian team.

With a world championship qualifying jump of 6.73m at the Adelaide Track Classic last February, all roads lead to Beijing in 2015.


Name: Jeff Riseley
Age: 28 years-old
Club: Knox Athletics Club
Coach: Andrew Russell

2014 Achievement: The two-time Olympians performances in two of the most hotly contested events; 800m and 1500m at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games was nothing short of first class. In a close finishing 800m final Riseley was in the frame for a podium finish but was pipped by Andre Olivier and Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich to finish fifth in a time of 1:46.12.

The Australian 1500m champion also placed fifth in the 1500m with a time of 3:40.27.

Riseley confirmed his status as one of Australia’s leading middle distance runners by claiming a famous 800m / 1500m double at the 2015 Australian Athletics Championships and selection for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing later this year.


Name: Kathryn Mitchell
Age: 32 years-old
Club: Eureka Athletics Club
Coach: Uwe Hown

2014 Achievement: Mitchell built on her fifth place at the 2013 IAAF World Championships to throw a personal best of 66.10m at the Adelaide Track Classic in mid-February, before finishing second at the IAAF Diamond League meet in New York.

The Ballarat athlete placed fourth at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games with a throw of 62.59m. Mitchell’s achievements in 2014 were recognised by being named Ballarat Sportswomen of the Year.

Last Tuesday Athletics Australia confirmed Mitchell’s spot on the 2015 IAAF World Championships team due to start 137 days in Beijing, China.



Fitness & Health Expo – Victorian Running Network

In an exciting new step for Athletics Victoria and the Victorian Running Network we will be showcasing athletics at this weekends (10-12 April) Health and Fitness Expo at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

With the launch of Athletics Victoria’s Recreational Running membership; the VRN will step into the world of personal trainers, fitness buffs, park runners and health experts to showcase the benefits and fun running can bring.

The VRN is a community focused membership that provides no frill benefits including personal accident cover, 2x event entries and access to member rates and promotional offers through Athletics Victoria products and events for only $60.

For a full break down of the Recreational Running membership please visit:

For event details and what’s on this weekend at the Fitness and Health Expo click here.