Seventeen Victorian athletes including IAAF world youth hammer bronze medallist Ned Weatherly will join an initial team of 55 Australian athletes at the IAAF world under 20 championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland from Tuesday 19 – Sunday 24 July.

Weatherly will head to his third age level competition on the international stage, in as many years, having represented the green and gold at the youth Olympics (2014) and IAAF world youth championships (2015).

Joining Weatherly on the plane to Poland will be Commonwealth youth games discus silver medallist Bianca Hansen, along with a host of fresh faces to the international competition.

The team will also boast the newly crowned national junior record holder Trae Williams (Qld, 100m, 200m), IAAF world youth championships medallists Darcy Roper (Qld, long jump) and Youth Olympic Games champion Jessica Thornton (NSW, 400m), the squad includes 48 athletes competing in individual events, as well as the men’s and women’s 4x100m relay and women’s 4x400m relay teams.

“Athletics Australia Selectors are excited to confirm an initial team of 55 for Bydgoszcz 2016. In the wake of so many impressive performances at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships earlier this month, I am confident that the squad will commendably represent the green and gold on the world stage,” Dion Russell, the Athletics Australia Chairman of Selectors, said.

“More than half of those that will compete in individual events were added automatically after performing at a level that saw them select themselves by winning the Selection Trial with a qualifier. This is an excellent result.”

Of the 17 Victorian athletes selected, 11 females and six males, with 14 competing in individual events. Athletics Essendon middle distance runner Lauren Ryan is the only Victorian to be named in two indivual events – 1500m and 3000m. Box Hill athlete Sarah Billings will line up in the 800m and be a member of the 4x400m team.

“The IAAF World Under 20 Championships are the pinnacle global athletics competition for junior athletes and I congratulate those selected and look forward to sharing the journey with you all,” Sara Mulkearns, the Athletics Australia Junior High Performance Manager, said.

“I also sincerely thank the families, coaches and support networks of our selected athletes for the work that they do to ensure that our best talent can continue to develop in the sport, as well as the Australian Commonwealth Games Association and Athletics International for their financial contribution to making our programs a reality.”

Excitingly for the future of track and field, 63 athletes achieved a qualifying performance in the allocated qualification period, rivalling the 72 athletes in 2014 and 62 athletes in 2012. The number of performances at or better than the qualification standard also soared to more than 180 for the third consecutive time which is up from only 97 in 2010.

Full Victorian team:

MEN (6):
400m: Lawson Power
800m: Lachlan Barber
1500m: Isaac Hockey
Hammer throw: Ned Weatherly
10,000m walk: Adam Garganis
4x100m relay: Cameron Searle

WOMEN (11):
200m: Maddison Coates
800m: Sarah Billings, Georgia Hansen
1500m: Lauren Ryan
3000m: Lauren Ryan, Amelia Mazza-Downie
100m hurdles: Celeste Mucci
Discus throw: Bianca Hansen
Javelin: Kathryn Brooks
10,000m walk: Tayla-Paige Billington
4x100m relay: Nana-Adoma Owosu-Afriyie
4x400m relay: Sophia Fighera, Sarah Billings

Click here to view complete team.

For more information on the IAAF World Junior Championships, please follow this link to iaaf.org.

The 2016 Australian Combined Events Championships will be held as part of the 2016 Australian Athletics Championships on 31 March – 3 April. Athletes selected in these events will be added in the days following the Championship.