World champs qualifier in sight for former ‘Oregon Duck’ Zoe Buckman

University of Oregon student athlete alumni Zoe Buckman returns to Eugene (USA) with the 2015 world championships 1500m qualifying time of 4:06.50 in her sights at this weekend’s Prefontaine Classic.

26-year-old Buckman will be joined by Victorian based athletes Collis Birmingham & David McNeill (5000m), Ryan Gregson (mile) and Kathryn Mitchell (javelin) at ‘track town’, the home of US track and field.

“I am aiming to qualify for Beijing. I don’t really know what to expect from the race, but I think I’ve got a good shot. I’m going to get out and compete like I know I can then see what happens,” Buckman said.

And, the 2012 London Olympian is focused on replicating her Moscow 2013 world championships success and making the final in Beijing this August.

“I definitely want to reproduce another great performance in Beijing. Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself after Moscow the year before and I think I let that get on top of me. This year I’m just focused on doing my best and enjoying it. A bit of luck is always needed for it to come together on the day, but, my determination is there.

The three-time national champion suffered a calf injury during the Australian Athletics Tour and this weekend’s race in Eugene will be her first major hit out for 2015.

The setback forced Buckman to withdraw from the IAAF World Relays, an event at which she won bronze in 2014, but, a training block at altitude has ensured her return to good shape.

“After the Nationals I had to spend some time in the pool because I had a calf strain. Fortunately I was back running in time to head to Laguna towards the end of May, which was the perfect place to recapture my fitness. I’ve now completed a five week stint at altitude and I am excited to get out and race again,” Buckman said.

“I decided to miss the World Relays as I felt that my form wasn’t back up to scratch after missing that bit of training when recovering. It did help to have a few more days to get going in my training block and focus on getting fit enough to qualify (for World Championships).”

May 29-30: IAAF Diamond League (Round 3) – Eugene (USA)
800m: Selma Kajan
1500m: Zoe Buckman
Mile: Ryan Gregson
5000m: Collis Birmingham, David McNeill
Javelin: Kathryn Mitchell

For more information on the IAAF Diamond League, including entry lists and event timetables, please click here.