THORNTON PROGRESS TO 400m SEMI-FINALS
The Rio 2016 bound Jessica Thornton (NSW) made easy work of her girl’s 400m heat on day one at the IAAF World Under 20 Championships 2016 in Bydgoszcz (POL).
Thornton burst out of the blocks and setup her race on the back straight before making it down the final straight comfortably to progress automatically in second place of heat five in a time of 53.70 behind Lynna Irby (USA).
“I was so excited to just get out there and run,” Thornton said.
“Watching the rest of the Australians smash it this morning gave me more positivity and I just went out hard like I usually do and then with 150m to go I eased up and made sure I was in top three for auto qualification.”
“I just cruised it home, because the final is where it counts, I just need to get to there now, so as long as I make it that's fine.”
In the final heat of the girl’s 400m, Molly Blakey (NSW) finished seventh in a time of 55.49 and was happy just to get to the start line after an interrupted preparation.
HALE ADVANCES AFTER 100m HEAT WIN
Leading Australian junior sprinter Jack Hale (TAS) has progressed to the semi-finals of the boy’s 100m after winning heat one in a time of 10.48 (w: -0.4) on the opening day of competition at Bydgoszcz 2016.
“That felt comfortable, coming away with the win in the opening round… nothing more you can ask for,” Hale said.
While conditions have been mixed on day one, things cleared up for Hale in the opening heat.
“There was very little wind if any and it was all good, conditions are fine, it’s a quick track, so as the rounds progress there is no reason I can’t run faster.”
Teammate Trae Williams (QLD) failed to progress to the semi-finals after finishing sixth with a time of 10.70 (w: +0.6) in heat five.
ROPER, JAMES, WILLIAM, CROFT & WINKCUP AMONG AUSTRALIANS THROUGH TO FINALS
Two Australians will feature in the boy’s long jump final after Darcy Roper (QLD) and Shemaiah James (QLD) progressed from the qualifying round.
The 2015 IAAF World Youth Championships silver medallist Roper finished third in pool ‘B’ with a leap of 7.65m (w: +0.3). James just pipped Roper with a mark of 7.67m (w: -0.7) in pool ‘A’ to guide the pair safely into the final round tomorrow night.
“Ticking the boxes is necessary, it was a good jump from both of us,” James said.
“We just had to stick to the basics and not worry about placings or anything like that, and almost treat it like a training session and get through your standard kind of jump which was the 7.70m mark which we both fell just short of.” Roper said.
It only took two attempts for Kirsty Williams (QLD) to progress to the final of women’s discus throw with a mark of 52.83m.
“I was really happy with it, first off I just wanted over 50m on the first throw and then I wanted to build on my throws and did that, so from 50m to 52m, ecstatic, so happy,” Williams said.
“Feels like there could be a big personal best coming up for the final, so hoping for that.”
It wasn't to be for Bianca Hansen (VIC) who threw 47.06m and will not feature in the discus final.
In the first girl’s 3000m steeplechase heat, Beth Croft (NSW) produced a season best of 10:19.51 to finish seventh and progress to the final as one of the next five fastest.
“It was quiet enjoyable, steeplechase might be one of Australia’s best events for women, but unfortunately at home the races only have just a couple of people. It was quiet fun to get out there and actually be surrounded by a good group of athletes,” Croft said.
The heat provided plenty of lessons for Croft ahead of the day four final.
“It was definitely different (to racing in Australia), at the start pushing each other and swerving all of the track.”
“I went out a lot slower then I normally would, which was alright, I didn’t blow up in the middle of the race, but it was tough by the end.
Joining Croft in the final will be Georgia Winkcup (NSW) after she delivered a personal best time of 10:16.14 in heat two.
“I’m so excited, I’ve had a bit of a rough lead up so all I was coming out here for was the experience and a personal best,” Winkcup said.
“It wasn’t raining for the first heat and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one worried about how that would affect our times, I think everyone gave it their all and used the conditions as motivating factor to push through.”
While Matthew Ramsden (WA) wasn’t overly impressed with his first up performance in the 1500m heats, he will get his opportunity in the final after posting the fifth fastest time of 3min 45.34sec in heat one.
“I was not happy with how things went… at all,” Ramsden said.
“It was a pretty slow start so I took it out and the kick at the end like I usually do, it was pretty rough out there, not use to that kind of racing back in Australia.”
“It was real rough with 200 to go, copped two elbows, but I gave them back, so can’t complain, but in the end I just didn’t run fast enough, that’s it.”
In the next 1500m heat, Isaac Hockey (VIC) inherited plenty of experience for the future after his time of 3:48.63 wasn’t enough to get him through to the final.
“I got myself up to the front, my coach said to race like I’ve been racing this season, which I basically put myself up there and unfortunately it was slow which isn’t what I wanted.”
“I felt really good and I thought I was going to progress but on the back straight I got caught on the inside and then was three wide and I couldn’t get around them, by the time I hit the final straight I was 10 metres off and to slow, but it was such an experience.”
There was plenty of quality in Sarah Billings (VIC) opening run in Bydgoszcz. The 800m star finished third in the fastest heat to process automatically to the semi-finals with a time of 2min 06.13sec.
“I’m pretty happy, it was pretty rough, but it was alright,” Billings said.
“It’s rougher than Australia, there are a lot of bold quick moves. Everyone was being quiet ‘elbowy’ so I had to try and use that as a bit of anger to kick home.”
“I was happy when I saw it was just us three, not easy down, but I was happy.”
Georgia Hansen (VIC) failed to progress to the 800m semi-final rounds after finishing fifth with a time of 2min 09.51sec in heat four.
“So many mixed emotions,” Hansen said.
“There is no one that holds back, no one gives no prisoners, you have to be tough.”
“I felt good in the first lap and just as they came around me I didn’t want to lose my position and they came in and I was just chucked out the back.”
“It was such a great experience, defiantly want to do this again. The atmosphere is so good. It just feels so good running for Australia.”
Preparation wasn’t ideal for Kathryn Brooks (VIC) leading up to Bydgoszcz 2016, but the javelin thrower was positive after today’s effort of 50.54m. The mark didn’t allow her to progress to the final.
“It was really good, the second furthest I’ve ever thrown and tough conditions, it was pouring for half the competition, but that’s like Melbourne.”
After day one of the Decathlon Alec Diamond (NSW) sits in 19th position with 3609 points. Tomorrow he will chase points in the 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500m events.
Things didn’t go to plan for Nina Kennedy (WA) and Emma Philippe (WA) in the pole vault, the pair both bowed out of qualifying after missing there opening heights in the first event of evening session on day one at Bydgoszcz 2016.
In the first final of the championships Clara Smith (QLD) was the best of the Australians in the girl’s 10,000m walk finishing 13th in 46:59.96 ahead of Tayla-Paige Billington (Vic) who sustained an ankle injury mid-way through the race to finish in 18th with a time of 48:32.33.
What: IAAF World U20 Championships 2016
Where: Zawisza Stadium, Bydgoszcz, Poland
When: Tuesday 19 to Sunday 24 July
Social media: @athsaust #Bydgoszcz2016