Birmingham on track for Beijing and Rio goals

2012 London Olympian Collis Birmingham started his campaign towards this year’s Beijing world championships and Rio 2016 Olympic Games at XCR’15 round one as a member of Ballarat’s winning relay team earlier this month.

Birmingham returned to Jells Park for the first time in eight years to line up in Ballarat’s star studded team that included Australian 5000m and 10000m champion Brett Robinson, Sydney Track Classic 1500m winner Ryan Gregson and distance running legend Steve Moneghetti.

“It’s always good to get the win, but, mostly for us it was great to be competing in this type of event again, Birmingham said.”

This weekend’s IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas will kick start Birmingham’s 2015 international season, the 2013 Australian 10000m champion has had an injury interrupted start to 2015 and  will join fellow Ballarat teammate Gregson and Victorian’s Luke Mathews, Timas Harik and Jordan Williamsz as members of the 4x800m/distance medley squad.

Williamsz will head to the Bahamas on a high after outkicking Oregon’s Edward Cheserek in the men’s 4xMile relay at Penn Relays this weekend, clocking a final lap of 52 seconds to record a famous victory for Villanova University.

“I do enjoy the relays, it’s an added bonus it’s in the Bahamas, we did well there last year, we got the Australian record for the 4x1500m, this year it has changed to the distance medley and looks like I’ll probably run the mile leg, Ryan (Gregson) on the 1200m and Jordy Williamsz another Victorian athlete will be on the 800m leg, Birmingham said.”

The IAAF World Relays has become a popular competition with athletes and is highlighted by the inclusion of the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt lining up for Jamaica this year. The event also provides direct qualification opportunities for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“It comes down to nations supporting it, in the past we have had situations where certain nations haven’t supported events the IAAF have put on and world cross country has been one of those in the last few years, the importance you put on an event, that’s what makes it.”

“If you keep on supporting it and build up a history then people will want to go there, certainly last year it was good for the Bahamas, Bolts (Usain) competing this year, so it should be even better, Birmingham said.”

Birmingham’s focus post the world relays will be on qualifying for the world championships in Beijing later this year.

“It’s the main goal, obviously getting back into it a little bit, it was a good hit out (XCR’15 Round 1) and I think I’m going pretty well, it’s hard to put a number on what I might run, 13:23.00 is the time and I would like to think I could do that before Beijing and, if I’m one of the three guys picked for the 5000m that would be great.”

With Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualifying times coming out this month Birmingham will be focused on selection for his second Australian Olympic team.

“If I run the time for Beijing it’s the time for Rio, so that’s been noted and obviously I want to get back to the Olympic Games again, Rio has been a goal for a little while so I’ll just keep on working towards that, Birmingham said.”

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