2017 Australian Athletics Championships – Preview

Before you announce yourself internationally, you need to make a name for yourself in your own backyard. And there’s only one place to do that…

From Sunday March 26th through to Sunday April 2nd, the country’s best athletes will gather into Sydney’s Olympic Stadium, to fight it out against one another with the winner being crowned Australia’s best. However, it’s not just National glory these athletes are seeking. There’s also World Championships, World University Games and Commonwealth Youth Games qualifiers at stake…

So who amongst Victoria are looking dangerous ahead of next week?

THE USUAL SUSPECTS

  • 2 x National 1500m Champion and Rio Olympian Ryan Gregson has been in amazing form this season with unbelievable performances during Nitro, and also over in Europe for his indoor campaign. Will be hard to beat.
  • 4 x National Shot-Put Champion Damien Birkinhead is coming off a State Championship win and will be looking to add a 5th National Title to his name. The Rio Olympian has been in solid form this summer, throwing a personal best of 20.54m in Auckland last month, which is a World Championships qualifier.
  • 4 x National High-Jump Champion and Rio Olympian Eleanor Patterson has had a decent start to the year, being crowned State Champion with a height of 1.85, and a seasons best of 1.90m which is just shy of the World Championship qualifier of 1.94m. Look to Eleanor to step it up in Sydney and get that qualifier!!!
  • Rio Olympian Joel Baden is coming into Nationals with a seasons bets of 2.20m, and a personal best of 2.29m achieved back in 2014. Baden will be wanting to channel that PB with the hope of making the World Championship qualifying height of 2.30m.
  • 1 x National Javelin Throw Champion and Rio Olympian Kathryn Mitchell has been slightly off this year throwing a seasons best of 59.37m, which is a far cry from her personal best of 66.10m back in 2014. A constant shoulder injury hasn’t helped, but Mitchell’s resilience to keep competing has been an inspiration for all the young javelin throwers coming through.
  • State 1500m Champion and Rio Olympian Linden Hall is hungry for that World Championship qualifier. Put on an amazing display at the Victorian Track & Field Championships but was just shy of the 4:07.50s qualifying time finishing off with a 4:08.98s. Depending on the conditions, Linden will be going in with a lot of confidence, and could very well find herself coming out of Sydney with a ticket to London.
  • 1 x National 800m Champion, Rio Olympian and Nitro’s greatest celebrator Luke Mathews has been putting in the hard-yards up at Falls Creek getting himself ready for Nationals. Has a seasons best of 1:48.46s and a personal best of 1:45.16s which was achieved last year. The World Championship qualifying time for the 800m is 1:45.90s.
  • 2 x National 400m Champion and Rio Olympian Morgan Mitchell has already got her ticket to London, but will be looking to add another National Title to her name. Was a standout at the Nitro series and has a seasons best of 51.65s.
  • 2 x Oceania Race Walking Championships bronze medalist and Rio Olympian Rachel Tallent is more accustomed to road racing but will be looking to convert her ‘tallent’ over to the track. Personal best for the 10,000m Walk is 46:34.41s which was achieved in 2014.
  • Rio Olympian and 2017 State Champion for the 5000m Walk Rhydian Cowley has already achieved his World Championship qualifying time and will be looking to add a National Title to his name.
  • 3 x National 1500m Champion and Rio Olympian Zoe Buckman started her 2017 campaign on the European indoor circuit, with times of 4:11.18s for the 1500m and 2:39.47 for the 1000m. Has a personal best of 4:03.22s and is extremely experienced!
  • Isis Holt had a breakthrough last year wining two silver medals at the Rio Olympics. Holt’s rise on the athletic scene started in 2015 when she won two gold medals at IPC Athletics World Championships and was declared Victorian Junior Athlete of the Year and Athletics Australia Female Para-Athlete of the Year. Holt’s 2017 campaign has been solid in terms of wins, but not where she’s been in the past with times. Coached by Nick Wall, Holt will be looking to get back into cracking form next week, and will no doubt do so!
  • Rio Paralympian and Victorian Champion for the Under-20 1500m Jaryd Clifford has been in very good form grabbing his personal best this year in Sydney with a time of 3:49.05s. Will definitely be looking to add a National Title to his name.
  • Rio Paralympian Nicholas Hum has already achieved a personal best in long jump this year with a distance of 6.99m. Will be a genuine contender to take out the National Title.
  • Rio Paralympian and athletics veteran Richard Colman had won seven Paralympic medals, including two gold, two silver and three bronze. Has been known to compete in numerous track events, but this year will be focusing his attention to the 100m.
  • Another Rio Paralympian and veteran Russell Short will once again show his experience in the shot-put and discus. Has a seasons best of 13.61 and a personal best of 14.51m. Will be looking to add another medal to his twelve Paralympic medals, which include six gold, two silver and four bronze.
  • Jessee Wyatt

FAMILIAR FACES

  • Ned Weatherly is going from strength to strength. Won the Victorian Track & Field Championships for his age group in the Javelin, and has a personal best of 64.46m. Will be hard to beat!
  • The 2017 State 400m Champion Abby de la Motte has been is glistening form this season, running a seasons best of 54.95s, and on top of that achieving a personal best in the 800m 2:02.19s up in Canberra! Will going into Nationals with a lot of confidence.
  • There is no doubt Liz Hedding has had a breakout season! A little bit of luck went her way during the Nitro series, with Brooke Stratton having to pull out through injury, which opened the door for Liz to announce herself to a captured audience – which she did. PB after PB after PB seems to be the way in which Liz has attacked this year, jumping a distance of 6.20m at the Victorian Track & Field Championships, and a 12.12s up in Canberra. Another athlete of coach Nick Wall, who seems to have the right formula working for all his squad members at the moment!
  • Kenzie Keenan is another athlete who has made a name for herself here in Australia. Originally from New Zealand, Kenzie was a feature of the Nitro series, and kept the momentum going into the Victorian Track & Field Championships, winning the gold in the 400m hurdles. Has had a slight hamstring concern, but it hasn’t seemed to hinder Kenzie’s performances. Has a PB of 58.89s and a seasons best of 59.23s! Will be a tough ask though coming up against Lauren Wells – who can do no wrong!
  • It seems as if Ben Khongbut has been around for a while, which may be the case, but he isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Has been a regular in all the big 110m hurdles races, and finished with a solid third place up at Canberra for the SUMMERofATHS competition, coming in with a time of 14.10s which also happened to be his personal best. Will be looking for another top three finish next week!
  • Brittany Burkitt had a hugely successful campaign up in Canberra during the SUMMERofATHS competition. Grabbing two personal bests in the 100m and 200m, with times of 11.73s and 24.42s respectively. Will be going into Sydney feeling very good!
  • Celeste Mucci is the heptathlon superstar who seems to keep getting better and better – and she’s only 17! Has had an awesome season with PB’s in the 100m, 200m, 800m, 100m hurdles, long jump and javelin. Will being in as a favourite for her age group…
  • Chris Mitrevski has been enjoying the 2017 season! Placing first in the Open long jump up in Canberra for the SUMMERofATHS competition with a distance of 8.05m! Also ran a personal best in the 100m during the Victorian Track & Field Championships with a time of 10.62s which happened to be a dead heat for first place!
  • Luke Stevens was arguably one of the most impressive athletes during the Nitro series. Has been a dominant force in the 200m and 400m. An upset though, saw Stevens miss out on a 2017 Victorian Title in the 400m, with Will Johns creating a huge upset. Has a seasons bets of 21.99s for the 200m and 47.34s for the 400m. Will definitely be out for redemption in the 400m!
  • Will Johns has had an impressive start to the year. Creating the upset at the State Championships with a personal best in the 400m coming in with a time of 47.29s. Has also achieved another personal best in the 200m up at Canberra with a time of 20.95s. Could be another awesome battle between Johns and Stevens!
  • Rachel Limburg has always been up there with results in the heptathlon, and has this season created personal bests in basically every event which include the 100m, 200m, 800m, 100m hurdles, high jump, long jump, triple jump shot put and javelin throw. Will still be a tough ask coming up against Celeste Mucci!
  • Erin Garbler has already achieved an IPC qualifying time, and will be looking for a solid performance again to help her cause in being selected for the traveling team!
  • 1 x National Champion Anneliese Rubie has had a decent start to the year, without it being exceptional. Finished fifth in the Open 800m final at the SUMMERofATHS competition with a time of 2:03.27s against quality opponents. Has a personal best of 2:02.52s and will be looking for an improvement next week in Sydney. Definitely has the talent to cause an upset!
  • Adrian Sanfilippo is back! Had a cracking Victorian Track & Field Championships where he took out the gold in the 400m hurdles with a time of 53.17s! Has had a shocking run with injuries, so it’s awesome to see him back running well!
  • Liam Richardson has also already achieved a IPC qualifying time, and will be looking to cement his spot in the traveling team next week!

VICTORIAN ALL-STARS

  • Pip Huse secured a personal best in the 5000m walk this year, but will be looking to channel her form from last year where she managed to achieve a PB in the 10,000m walk with a time of 49:46. Has been a feature of Athletics Victoria leading into the Australian Athletics Championships!
  • James Joycey has dominated his age group for the shot put and managed to grab a personal best in New Zealand with a distance of 14.68m! May be a little sore due to a heavy training load but will definitely be up there in the medals! Has been a feature of Athletics Victoria leading into the Australian Athletics Championships!
  • Mia Gross has had an exceptional summer thus far! Personal bests and qualifiers in the 100m (11.71s), 200m (23.83s) and 400m (54.08s). Depending on which events Mia competes in, she’ll definitely be going in as favourite! Has been a feature of Athletics Victoria leading into the Australian Athletics Championships!
  • Zach Nunis is another young star who’ll have a heavy workload, competing in the long jump, triple jump and the 100m. Has secured two personal bests this year in the 100m (11.06s) and triple jump (14.87m) and has a PB in long jump with a distance of 7.17m. Will be heading to Sydney with a lot of confidence. Has been a feature of Athletics Victoria leading into the Australian Athletics Championships!
  • Bianca Hansen hasn’t had any personal bests this year, but has still been winning events! The ever smiling, ever happy discus thrower and long jumper, has seasons best of 5.51m (long jump) and 45.73m (discus). Will be looking for two gold medals! Has been a feature of Athletics Victoria leading into the Australian Athletics Championships!
  • Jaryd Clifford has had an awesome start to the year, grabbing personal bests in the 1500m (3:49.05s) and the 5000m 14:51.38s). Likes to lead from start to finish, and will no doubt go into next week with the same mindset. Has been a feture of Athletics Victoria leading into the Australian Athletics Championships!

Catch all the action via Athletics Australia’s live streaming! With interviews shown via Athletics Victoria’s Facebook page!

#SUMMERofATHS