Dual Olympian Jeff Riseley will headline a nineteen strong Victorian contingent selected to represent Australia at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 from Saturday 22 – Sunday 30 August in the Chinese capital.
“If you’re not 100 percent in any race, especially at a world championships or Olympics you get exposed, I’ve been lucky enough to make every team and it’s about getting in a routine where you get home from previous championships and you start preparing again, you’ve got to create a good environment and be good enough to get through the domestic season at 80/90 percent and have something up your shelve to go to Europe and go to another level,” Riseley said.
Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ might not bring back fond memories for Riseley after an illness plagued 2008 Olympic Games campaign, but, the reigning 800m and 1500m national champion will head to the Olympic stadium full of confidence this time around, clocking 1:44.99 in Italy last month, his fastest time over 800m in three years.
Along with a strong European summer, Riseley will draw on last year’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games where he showcased his ability to run well at a championship.
“Glasgow was probably the big turning point, five races in five days and coming away with two fifths and, being so close to a medal in the 800m.
I’d turn up to a lot of major championships, I’d run really fast times in Europe and probably went in with too much expectation internally and perhaps was just never able to perform.
I made a change of environment, team and personnel and turned up to Glasgow and took each heat as it came, trying to build, in the first heat I snuck up the inside and won in the 800m and that sort of set the tone for the rest of championships,” Riseley said.
28-year-old Riseley will be Australia’s sole competitor in the 800m after fellow Victorian and Australian record holder Alex Rowe announced his withdrawal from the championships in July.
And, the 800m has drawn plenty of attention in recent weeks with American national champion Nick Symmonds being left off the US team after a dispute involving athletes’ individual endorsements and requirements to wear official team gear.
Through the IAAF roll-down process Riseley and national record holder Ryan Gregson will line up in the 1500m in Beijing.
Commonwealth high jump champion Eleanor Patterson will have the might of Europe to contend with this month in Beijing as she eyes a third medal from three major international championships having also won gold at the world youth championships in 2013 and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
19-year-old Patterson matched her national junior high jump record and personal best of 1.96m at the 2015 Australia Junior Athletics Championships last March to qualify for the world championships before narrowly missing three attempts at 1.98m, which would have been a national record.
Patterson will need to bring her natural competitive edge to the Bird’s Nest with Russian Anna Chicherova holding a world lead height of 2.03m in 2015.
Victoria will have nine athletes compete at the IAAF World Championships for the first time, Joel Baden, Allan Cook (Masters), Melissa Ducan, Patterson, Brooke Stratton, Sinead Diver, Genevieve LaCaze, Sarah Klein, Kelly Ruddick, Rachel Tallent, Jess Gulli and Morgan Mitchell.
Australia has claimed 31 medals overall since 1983, including; 10 gold, nine silver and 12 bronze. The United States is the most successful nation with a total of 300 medals of which 138 are gold.
Victorian’s make up half of Australia’s gold medals won at an IAAF World Championships; Cathy Freeman (2x 400m), Jana Pittman (2x 400m Hurdles), Rob de Castella (Marathon) and Nathan Deakes (50km walk).
Beijing 2015 will be the fourth time the championships has been held in the Asian region, with both Japan and Korea hosting past editions and, will be the first major international athletics championships in the Bird’s Nest since the 2008 Olympic Games.
Since 1991 the championships have occurred biennially and 2015 will mark the 15th edition of the IAAF world championships. Following on from Beijing, the event will head to another Olympic stadium, London’s Olympic Park in 2017.
- Click here for Australian broadcasting times on SBS 2 and Eurosport
- Download the Athletics Australia Official IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 Media Guide
800m: Jeff Riseley (VIS)
1500m: Jeff Riseley (VIS), Ryan Gregson (VIS)
5000m: Collis Birmingham, Brett Robinson (VIS)
High jump: Joel Baden (VIS)
20km walk: Chris Erickson (VIS), Jared Tallent
50km walk: Chris Erickson (VIS), Jared Tallent
Masters 800m: Allan Cook
1500m: Melissa Duncan (VIS)
High jump: Eleanor Patterson
Long jump: Brooke Stratton (VIS)
Javelin: Kathryn Mitchell (VIS)
3000m Steeplechase: Genevieve LaCaze (VIS)
Marathon: Sinead Diver, Sarah Klein
20km walk: Kelly Ruddick, Rachel Tallent
4x400m relay: Jess Gulli, Morgan Mitchell (VIS)
What: IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015
When: Saturday 22 – Sunday 30 August, 2015
Where: Beijing National Stadium – Bird’s Nest