#MWC15: Riseley world qualifier, Gulli steals 400m show

Two time Olympian Jeff Riseley took the fight to 800m world record holder David Rudisha (1:44.94) at the IAAF Melbourne World Challenge, recording a world championship qualifying time of 1:45.29 at Lakeside Stadium on Saturday night.

“I knew what he was going to do, I just stayed relaxed and hung in there and tried to give it a crack, I was sort of surprised with how close we were with 100m to go, but, he will go to a new level in three months time so it will a completely different race.”

“ I thought tonight was an opportunity to maybe get him from what I saw in Sydney, they didn’t go through 600m that fast and I knew how strong I am at the moment and, I had that in the back of my mind.”

It was national 800m record holder Alex Rowe who stuck with Rudisha through the early stages of the race, with Kenyan Sammy Tangui taking the lead group through the first lap in just over 51 seconds.

Riseley sat and made his move with 300m to go and was in the frame to match it with Rudisha with 100m to go before the Kenyan went to another level to claim line honours and show his class across 800m.

“It was nice having have Rowe (Alex) as a bit of cushion and, he stuck right on him and had a real crack, it allowed me to chill a bit and with 50m he saw me coming and had a bit left.”

“I was pretty hard on myself after last week (Sydney Track Classic), I was pretty disappointed, its probably the worse way you can ever lose a race, leading 600m out and getting done at the end was a bit disappointing but I knew I was in good shape and just had to put my head down and get around and, I knew I would run a good race.”

Australian record holder Rowe finished third in a time of 1:47.11 with fellow St. Kevin’s middle distance runner Timas Harik stopping the clock at 1:49.97.

Commonwealth Games representative Jess Gulli’s pet event might include jumping hurdles but the pocket rocket from Geelong stole the 400m show from lane eight with a personal best time of 53.22 in the windy conditions in Albert Park.

“I had no idea what to expect running from lane eight in a 400m, normally a hurdler I think everyone was as shocked as I was when I got to the finish line.”

It might have been foreign territory out in lane eight, but, Gulli wasn’t phased by the challenge and found another gear with 100m to go and, closed down New South Wales’s Anneliese Rubie (53.38) and Western Athletics and national champion Morgan Mitchell (53.52).

“I’m not use to lane eight, but, I like chasing people down and I’ve always been a bit of a heart runner and, gave myself the best opportunity with 300m and, just kicked and kept going and got a bit excited, you don’t fell the lactic when you’re chasing people, so it was good.”

“That’s the first time I have ever run the 400m at this event, I’m normally always hurdling, I think I ran one in Sydney last year and came third, it was defiantly my best performance over a 400m flat and a personal best on such a windy night, so  I’m happy with that.”

With relay spots up for grabs ahead of the IAAF World Relay meet later this year, tonights run has now opened options for Gulli ahead of the Australian national championships in Brisbane next week.

“I might run the nationals 400m flat, I’m still contemplating the 400m flat or hurdles, so I’ll chat with my coach and work that out, but this year was all development for me over the hurdles, I didn’t think it was realistic to get the qualifier but still a candidate for a relay.

Two-time Olympian and Sandringham athlete Tamsyn Lewis-Manou had her first hit out on the national tour since competing at the Victorian Open championships to cross the line 54.72.

Athletics Essendon and 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games representative Ellen Pettitt topped the women’s triple jump with a leap of 13.44m ahead of New Zealand’s Nneka Okpala who threw 13.25m on her final attempt with Natalia Kremenchutskaya rounding out the top three with a distance of 12.51m.

In the opening event at the IAAF Melbourne World Challenge Athletics Chilwell thrower Ned Weatherly was the best of the Victorian’s with a distance of 60.15m enough to secure third position behind Tasmanian Huw Peacock (61.81m) and Queensland winner Matt Denny with mark of 69.70m.

Weatherly confirmed automatic selection for the IAAF World Youth Championships at last weeks junior nationals in Sydney and will now turns his attention to open nationals in Brisbane next week and, preparation for the youth championships in Columbia this July.

VIS athlete Damien Birkenhead was the best of the Victorian’s in the men’s shot put with a distance of 20.23m.

The Geelong thrower will be focused on the world championship qualifying standard of 21.45m in coming weeks.

Melbourne University athlete Craig Appleby clocked 14:20.26 to take out the men’s 5000m ‘B’ race ahead of Brad Thermal (14:27.86) and fellow Melbourne University teammate Mark Kirwan (14:31.70).

Old Melburnians sprinter Chris Bailleau ran a time of 21.70 to win the men’s 200m ahead of Papua New Guinea’s Nelson Stone (21.87) and Michael Beltrame (22.19).

Box Hill sprinter Ella Squires claimed the women’s 100m Oceania open challenge with a time of 12.16 ahead of Cook Islands Patricia Taea (12.41) and Australian juniors national champion Christine Byrne (12.43)

Full results here: http://athsaus.imgstg.com/results/melbourne_15/