Frankston’s Sarah Klein builds for Glasgow roads

Next month the reality of a debut Commonwealth Games will come true for Frankston marathon runner Sarah Klein who twelve months ago would never have anticipated nomination by Athletics Australia to the Australian Commonwealth Games Association to compete in Glasgow.

It was only when a friend made Klein aware she might have run a Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifying standard of 2:42:30 at last year’s Melbourne Marathon was the idea of competing in Glasgow entertained.

“A friend of mine text me and said you might have done a qualifier for the Commonwealth Games and I thought, I never even though of that, so I looked it up and I was 23 seconds off of the b qualifier and after speaking to my coach we thought there was always a chance with the marathon, you never know what’s going to happen so we had crack,” Klein said.

The fourth place finish in Melbourne instigated a growing ambition for the Caulfield Grammar School teacher to put in place the steps to have a serious attempt at making her first senior Australian team.

“I attempted Gold Coast in 2012 and got injured the week before and went back in 2013 but pulled up a bit lame in the lead up so my debut was Melbourne 2013, it actually took three attempts to get to the start line of a marathon to begin with and now I’m coming up to my third one and guess I’m a marathon runner now,” said Klein.

Focus turned to Europe and at the Marathon Rotterdam in the Netherlands in April Klein secured the ‘B’ qualifying standard with a personal best time of 2:38:53.

“It’s a real relief to work so hard for something and to cross the line and to see the 2:38 I was really proud of myself and so stoked to get the b qualifier,” Klein said.

“A few things had to fall into place for me to be selected and I was, so I’ll take it and can’t wait to get over to Glasgow and run.”

Near on a month after Rotterdam Klein along with Essendon’s Liam Adams was added to make it a full quota of marathon runners nominated by Athletics Australia for the Glasgow Games.

Since nomination training including hill climbs every Sunday in the Dandenong’s has been stepped up and the gradual build-up to longer distances before departing for Glasgow next month has included wins in the 13.5km Puffing Billy’s Great Train Race and last weekend’s victory in the XCR’14 Round 3 6km course a Brimbank Park.

“This was my first XCR event that I’ve won, so I went one better than I did last round, it’s always a tough start out there going up the hill, but I was able to settle in a bit as we got going and felt alright so it was good,” Klein speaking after winning at Brimbank.

“It’s all preparation for the Commonwealth Games, the marathon is the goal and the bigger picture so the races I do in the lead up to that are part of the plan and then hopefully by the time July 27 comes around I’ll be fit and ready to go.”

With a new found belief in competing at this level Klein will be quietly confident heading to Glasgow.

The nomination period has now closed for 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and a joint announcement by Athletics Australia and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association will take place on Thursday 5 June regarding the final list of athletes to be included on the Australian team.

Perth delivers Commonwealth Games qualifiers

2012 Olympian Kathryn Mitchell added a second Commonwealth Games ‘A’ standard in the women’s javelin at the 2014 Go For 2&5 Perth Track Classic over the weekend with a throw of 60.42m.

In what is becoming one of the showcase events on this seasons Australian athletics calendar Mitchell finished third behind fellow 2012 Olympian Kim Mickle (63.37) and Canberra’s Kelsey-Lee Roberts (61.99) who also backed up strong performances at the Adelaide Track Classic a fortnight ago to record Commonwealth Games ‘A’ qualifiers in Perth.

Nunawading athlete Brook Stratton impressed in the long jump with a personal best of 6.62m to move up Australia’s all-time records list to equal ninth alongside Linda (Parr) Garden and Margaret Gayen.

Only .03m off an ‘A’ qualifier Stratton won at the opening Australian Athletics Tour meet well clear of Canberra’s Jessica Penney who’s fourth attempt of 6.49m was enough to claim second and a ‘B’ standard.

Collingwood Harriers Corinna Minko rounded out the podium and joined Stratton on the list of ‘B’ qualifiers with a jump of 6.45m.

Old Melburnians Sam Baines delivered a strong performance to win the 110m hurdles in 13.70 against New South Wales’s highly rated Nicholas Hough (13.73).

The pair split by .03sec both claimed ‘B’ standards in what is going to be an interesting battle over the next couple of months in the build-up to the Australian championships in Melbourne.

Ballarat’s Collis Birmingham (3:54.92) prepared for next month’s world indoor championships in Sopot, Poland with a strong performance in the mile, finishing second behind Kenya’s James Magut who recorded a new meet record of 3:53.73.

Birmingham and Magut were joined at the front by Irelands Paul Robinson (3:59.56) on the final lap before Birmingham pushed the pace; it was Magut who responded to take line hours and saw all three finish under the four minute mark.

2013 Moscow worlds star Zoe Buckman was the best of the Victoria’s in the women’s 1500m finishing second in 4:07.56 behind the Netherlands Susan Kuijken (4:07.21).

Buckman lead a group of four including Kuijken, Kaila McKnight and Melissa Duncan into the final 200m. Buckman looked on track for her first win of the season until Kuijken found another gear in the final 100m to win in a meet record.

Buckman and McKnight’s (4:07.92) times suggest they are not far off claiming the ‘A’ qualifier of 4:07.00. Duncan secured a third ‘B’ standard of the season with her fourth place and a time of 4.09.13.

New South Wales’s Josh Ralph continued to show how comfortable he is at 800m with a meet record and Commonwealth Games ‘B’ standard time of 1:46.25 ahead of VIS athlete Jeff Riseley (1:46.54) who was happy with his first serious run in 2014.

“Very happy with result first up, real stuff begins now” – via @jeff_riseley

Fellow VIS scholarship holder Alex Rowe showed great signs in Perth after a 1:48.04 at the Adelaide Track Classic Rowe clocked 1:46.77 to add to Victoria’s long list of ‘B’ qualifiers.

Adding to Victoria’s strong showing on the infield Corio thrower Damien Birkinhead recorded his second ‘B’ in the shot put with a throw of 18.43m.

Pole vaulter Joel Pocklington cleared the bar at 5.25m before three attempts at 5.46m to claim a ‘B’ standard.

Frankston javelin thrower Luke Cann was another to improve on his Adelaide Track Classic performance with five of his six throws over the ‘B’ standard and finished with a final throw of 77.50m to claim first place ahead of New Zealand’s Stuart Farquhar (75.65m) and Tasmanian Hamish Peacock (74.40m).

Deakin athlete Jess Gulli impressed in Perth winning the women’s 400m hurdles in 57.39 just outside the ‘B’ standard of 57.35.

Canberra’s Melissa Breen continued her winning ways in the 100m securing another ‘A’ standard ahead of Sandringham’s Ashleigh Whittaker who produced an 11.58 to claim second place.

Nunawading’s Hana Basic was too strong in the women’s 100m B race winning in a time of 11.88, the only interstate competitor on the starting line, local Amy Tolcon was closes in 12.17.

The next stop on the Australian Athletics Tour is the Sydney Track Classic on Saturday 15 March.

Click here for full results from the 2014 Go For 2&5 Perth Track Classic.

Two states, nine qualifiers

Victorian athletes bagged a swag of Commonwealth Games and world junior qualifiers this weekend at the 25th Briggs Athletics Classic in Hobart and at High Velocity Meet 5 at Lakeside Stadium.

The day signaled the return of Old Melburnians Sam Baines who kicked off the High Velocity meet with an Australian Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifying time of 13.84 seconds in the 110 metre open hurdles.

Fellow hurdler Matthew De Bruin followed up in the under 20 event to secure a world junior qualifying time of 13.99 seconds.

Ballarat sprinter Sam Baird after coming so close to the 400 metres junior worlds qualifying time at the Victorian Country Championships last weekend pulled out a personal best of 46.78 seconds to close in on a spot to the United States later this years.

Melissa Duncan (4:10.20 sec) backed up her fine run at the Hunter Track Classic to edge out 2013 world championships finalists Zoe Buckman (4:10.49) in the women’s 1500 metres in Hobart.

Buckman in her first major hit out for 2014 secured the Australian Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifying standard of 4:10.75, while Duncan recorded a second ‘B’ standard.

Success in the 1500 metres continued into the men’s race where Zak Patterson (3:44.75) and Luke Mathews (3:46.98) both clinched the world junior qualifying time of 3:47.00 minutes.

While Brooke Stratton has indicated there is still work to be done, the Victorian Institute of Sport athlete recorded a Australian Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifying distance of 6.30 metres in the long jump.

“Lots of run up work needed to be done after tonight's comp at the ‪#BriggsTC‬.6.30m and didn't touch the board on 5/6 jumps. ‪#StillaCommBQual‬” via @brookestratts

Women hammer thrower Gabrielle Neighbour rounded out a strong day of qualifiers for Victorians, winning the Briggs open event with a throw of 62.19 metres to record a Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifier.

Other strong performance across the day include Damien Birkhead winning the men’s shot put with a throw of 16.73 metres at the Briggs Athletics Classic.

Sprinter Emily Lawson took out the 100 (12.61) and 200 (24.83) metres events while Nicholas Finch impressed in the Men’s B 800 metres winning in a time of 1:55.05 minutes.

Sam Reiser (47.50) was another notable performance in Hobart finishing second to 2013 world championships 4×400 metre hero Tristan Thomas (47.32) in the men’s 400 metres.

Sandringham Athletics Ashleigh Whittaker still has a Commonwealth Games qualifier in her reach after producing a 23.83 second personal best in the women’s 200 metres at the High Velocity meet today.

Briggs Athletics Classic:

Women Open 1500m
1 Melissa Duncan – 4:10.20 CGB
2 Zoe Buckman – 4:10.49 CGB

Men 800m B 
1 Nicholas Finch – 1:55.05

Women 100m Open
1 Emily Lawson – 12.61 (-3.2)

Men Open Shot Put
1 Damien Birkinhead – 16.73m

Men Open 1500m
2 Zak Patterson – 3:44.75 WJQ
5 Luke Mathews – 3:46.98 WJQ

Women Open Long Jump
2 Brooke Stratton – 6.30m CGB

Women Open 200m
1 Emily Lawson – 24.83 (-1.4)

Women Hammer Throw Open
1. Gabrielle Neighbour – 62.19m CGB

High Velocity Meet 5

Men 110m Hurdles 106.7cm Open
Sam Baines  Old Melburnians AC  13.84 CGB

Men 110 metres Hurdles 99.1cm Under 20
Matthew De Bruin  Casey Cardin  13.99 WJQ

Men 400 metres Open
Sam Baird Ballarat Harriers 46.78 WJQ

Click here for complete Briggs Athletics Classic results
Click here for complete High Velocity 5 results

Chapple and Birmingham nominated for Glasgow 2014

Recently crowned Australian 10,000m champions Nikki Chapple and Collis Birmingham have been nominated by Athletics Australia to the Australian Commonwealth Games Association for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Jessica Trengove (SA) and Martin Dent (ACT) join Chapple and Birmingham as nominations by Athletics Australia for Glasgow 2014.

Birmingham and Chapple earned their automatic nomination for Glasgow after winning the men’s and women’s Australian 10,000m Championships respectively at the recent Zatopek:10 meet in Melbourne.

Under the selection criteria, any athlete who wins the 10,000m national championship and has at least a B standard (28:31.25 for men, 33:24.00 for women) qualified for automatic nomination.

Both Chapple (32:56.25) and Birmingham (27:56.22) recorded B qualifiers and were first Australia’s across the line in this months Zatopek:10 at Lakeside Stadium.

Trengove and Dent were both nominated after their performances at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, qualifying them for automatic nomination under Athletics Australia’s selection policy.

Under that policy, any athletes who finished in the top twenty-four in the marathon at last year’s world championships and who have achieved at least the B standard within the qualification period received automatic nomination for the team for Glasgow.

Trengove finished 11th in the women’s marathon in Moscow, while Dent placed 23rd in the men’s race. Both recorded times in Moscow which bettered the B standard, with Trengove’s 2:37.11 easily under the required 2:42:30 and Dent’s 2:17.11 also under the men’s B standard of 2:18.00.

“The nomination of these athletes is the start of what we hope will be a very strong Australian team for Glasgow,” Athletics Australia Chairman of Selectors Dion Russell said.  “All of these four athletes essentially nominated themselves by virtue of their performances, and we look forward to many more athletes doing likewise throughout the upcoming season.”

The other nominations for the marathon and 10,000m are scheduled to be decided later in May 2014. The bulk of the Track and Field athlete nominations will be made to the ACGA following the 92nd Australian Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games Selection Trials – April 3-6.

Through its ‘Go Glasgow’ program, the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) is distributing $8 million of its own funds to support athlete preparation in the 18 Games programs sports in addition to meeting the full costs (approximately $7 million) of sending the Team to compete in Glasgow (SCO) at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. 

Australian athletics is a major beneficiary of the ‘Go Glasgow’ program and is grateful for the ACGA’s ongoing support.