Athletics Australia announce key competition dates for 2015/16

Athletics Australia has today announced key competition dates for the upcoming track and field season, which starts early in December. Victoria will play host to the first four competitions of the calendar, including the extremely popular Zatopek:10 competition at Lakeside Stadium. The December period also includes the Australian All Schools Championships and the 50km Race Walking Championships.

The 94th Australian Athletics Championships will be held in Sydney in late march, spanning a four day period. The competition, which is set to conclude the Australian domestic season, is a critical opportunity for athletes seeking to be selected in the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Teams.

“Athletics Australia, its member associations, athletes and fans Australia wide are excited about the upcoming Australian Athletics season,” Tracey Gaudry Athletics Australia’s General Manager, Commercial & Growth, said.

“In a most important Olympic and Paralympic year, the Australian Athletics season provides the optimum platform for our elite athletes to prepare and qualify, whilst putting on a great sporting show for athletics fans and providing competition opportunities for emerging athletes of the future. Our mission is to engage all our stakeholders, from athletes and coaches, to fans and commercial partners, for mutual benefit. The new condensed calendar format provides that opportunity.”

Wayne Loxley, the Athletics Western Australia Chief Executive Officer, agrees and eagerly awaits the return of the Australian Junior Athletics Championships to Perth, supported by the Western Australian Government.

“Considerable effort has been made to ensure that the upcoming season strikes the right balance between providing both a vital competition opportunity and a vibrant platform to promote the sport and engage the Australian athletics community,” Loxley said.

The newly designed tour has a specific focus on delivering a competition structure that optimises performance late in the domestic season at the Australian Athletics Championships which will double as a trial for the Olympic Games.

“This structure of the season is optimal because it prioritises the Australian Athletics Championships, while providing an important series of competition opportunities in the lead up. The two-week break before the national championship is the best outcome we could have hoped for in terms of ensuring athlete preparedness for the trial,” Simon Nathan, Athletics Australia High Performance Director, said.

KEY DATES: 2015-2016 Australian Athletics Season 

AA Tour Dates 2015/16


–           Events in bold are Australian Championship events
–           Events in italics are Australian Athletics Tour events
–           The Zatopek:10 will feature the Australian 10,000m Championship for men and women
–           The date for the Briggs Athletics Classic in Hobart (TAS) is to be confirmed
–           There are two double-headers: 20 February (Adelaide & Canberra) and 19 March (Brisbane & Sydney)
–           The IAAF World Indoor Championships will be held 17-20 March in Portland (USA)
–           The 94th Australian Athletics Championships incorporates the Oceania & Australian Combined Events Championships for open and junior athletes

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.

Vics best set for showdown in the west

A host of Victorian Olympic and worlds representatives including Collis Birmingham, Kathryn Mitchell and Zoe Buckman along with some of the state’s best up and coming talent will head west this Saturday for the Go For 2&5 Perth Track Classic.

Mitchell will reignite her battle with local and 2013 Moscow worlds silver medallist Kim Mickle at the first leg of the Australian Athletics Tour.

The pair along with Canberra’s Kelsey-Lee Roberts was one of the highlights at the Adelaide Track Classic last weekend where Mitchell (66.10m) and Mickle (66.12m) recorded Commonwealth Games ‘A’ standards.
The depth of Victoria’s middle distance running will be on show with Buckman headlining a strong list of six competing in the women’s 1500m event.

Buckman (4:10.49) kicked off her season in Tasmania at the Briggs Track Classic where she recorded a Commonwealth Games ‘B’ standard behind the inform Melissa Duncan (4:10.20).

Duncan’s ‘B’ standard in Hobart was the second of the season after a strong outing at the Hunter Track Classic where she finished second (4:09.98) behind fellow Victorian Kaila McKnight (4:09.87).

2012 London Olympics 1500m semi-finalist McKnight will be another to test Buckman, with a personal best of 4:05.61 there will be a number of Victorian’s eying off the ‘A’ standard of 4:07.00 in Perth and the coming tour meets in Sydney and Melbourne.

Add into the mix 800m worlds representatives Kelly Hetherington, Glenhuntly’s Eliza Curnow who recorded a personal best of 4:11.73 in Sydney early last year and up and coming talent Courtney Powell and Victoria’s women look a dominant force.

There is no shortage of talent in the men’s categories either, London Olympian Jeff Riseley and 2013 worlds representative Alex Rowe along with St Kevin’s Timas Harik will feature in the men’s 800m event.
The trio will have to be wary of New South Wale’s Josh Ralph who impressed in Adelaide last weekend recording a Commonwealth ‘B’ qualifier of 1:46.69 ahead of Rowe (1:48.04).

Current Australian national 10,000m champion Birmingham will line up in the mile 13 days before heading to Sopot, Polland to compete in the 3000m at the 2014 world indoor championships.
Ballarat’s Sam Baird will be one to watch in the 400m as he takes on US 2008 Olympic and 2013 world champion LaShawn Merritt.

Baird along with Deakin athlete Sam Reiser missed the Victorian Junior Track and Field Championships last weekend and the pair will be primed to target a second world junior qualifying standard of 47.25.

Old Melburnians Sam Baines clocked a Commonwealth Games ‘B’ standard with a time of 13.84 in the 110m hurdles at his first hit out at High Velocity in early February, returning to the track after an extensive period of time out with injuries.

Perth will be another good test for Baines to see where he is at, in a bid to make this year’s Commonwealth Games team heading to Glasgow.

A strong mix of men’s javelin throwers including Tasmania’s inform Hamish Peacock will head to Perth this weekend and VIS athlete Luke Cann will be out to work on his 72.41m throw at the Briggs Athletics Classic last month.

On a weekend that saw Canberra’s queen of sprint Melissa Breen break the Australian women’s 100m all-time record in 11.11 and Breen go head-to-head with Olympic champion Sally Pearson at the ACT Track and Field Championships, Diamond Valley sprinter Monica Brennan will once again face off with Australia’s fastest women in the 100m dash in Perth.

Along with Brennan, Sandringham athlete Ashleigh Whittaker and Geelong’s Angela Byrt will double up in the 100m and 200m events.

St Kevin’s sprinter Matthew Bertacco will be Victoria’s sole competitor in the men’s 100m event and heads to Perth after winning at the ACT Track and Field Championships last month with a time of 10.42.
It will be a family affair for siblings Jamie and Brooke Stratton who will compete in the long jump in respective categories.

Victoria will be well represented in the pole vault with Brodie Cross, Blake Lucas, Maz Mishchenko and Joel Pocklington making up four of the six competitors, as well as Queensland’s Matt Boyd who won last night’s Rare Air Club event at Melbourne University with a height of 4.90m in strong cross winds.

Adding to Victoria’s hopefuls on the infield will be 2012 world junior shot put bronze medallist Damien Birkinhead.

Birkinhead recorded a Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifier of 18.64m at Zatopek:10 2013 late last year and if he is to throw an ‘A’ of 20.10 it will require a personal best which is currently 19.27m.

Full list of Victorian athletes:

Monica Brennan – 100m & 200m
Angela Byrt – 100m & 200m
Ashleigh Whittaker – 100m & 200m
Hana Basic – 200m
Zoe Buckman – 1500m
Eliza Curnow – 1500m
Melissa Duncan – 1500m
Kelly Hetherington – 1500m
Kaila McKnight – 1500m
Courtney Powell – 1500m
Felicity Black – 400mH
Jess Gulli – 400mH
Kathryn Mitchell – JT
Brooke Stratton – LJ
Matthew Bertacco – 100m
Sam Baird – 400m
Sam Reiser – 400m
Sean Wroe – 400m
Timas Harik – 800m
Jeff Riseley – 800m
Alex Rowe – 800m
Collis Birmingham – Mile
Tim Norton – Mile
Sam Baines – 110mH
Ben Khonbut – 110mH
Tom Robertson – 400mH
Damien Birkinhead – SP
Luke Cann – JT
Jamie Stratton – LJ
Brodie Cross – PV
Blake Lucas – PV
Max Mishchenko – PV
Joel Pocklington – PV

The Go For 2&5 Perth Track Classic will be stream live by clicking here.

Click here for Go For 2&5 Perth Track Classic event information, timetable and entry list.

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