The track at Canberra’s AIS will be red-hot this weekend as nine Rio Olympians get set to take part in a bumper weekend schedule for the ACT Athletics Championships starting today.
Australia’s fastest man and woman will be roaring down the home straight as both Josh Clarke (NSW) and Melissa Breen (ACT) will look to kick-start their domestic seasons in the sprint events.
For 21-year-old Clarke, Canberra will be and his first real 100m race since he set his blistering PB of 10.15 (+0.8) at the same venue in February 2016.
Since he was forced to withdraw from the Rio Olympics due to injury, Clarke’s only hitout this season has been the 200m PB time of 20.88 (+1.1) he set at a Sydney invitational meet two weeks ago. He’ll be challenged by Australian 100m champion Alex Hartmann (Qld) as well as young guns Rohan Browning (NSW) and Trae Williams (Qld) who are both looking to cement their names as serious sprint contenders in 2017.
The 100m national champion in 2017, Breen will also compete in the 200m, where she’ll likely be challenged by rising sprint star Jess Thornton (NSW) who steps down in distance from her preferred 400m, as well as Victorian speedster Ash Whittaker.
ACT local Lauren Wells will be competing in her pet event the 400m hurdles, after claiming the 200m hurdles Australian record earlier this year. Wells will also flat 400m where Rio Olympic finalist and Nitro Athletics star Anneliese Rubie (NSW) will jostle for line-honours with Jess Gulli-Nance (Vic).
Rubie will also compete in the 800m, an event she has completed frequently throughout the early part of the season, and has earmarked as important preparation for her preferred 400m tilts later in the season. She’ll be looking to overcome NSW athlete Lora Storey who trounced Rubie as well as a formidable field at this year’s Hunter Track Classic.
Flying to Canberra after her Nitro Athletics experience in Melbourne, Australian 100m hurdles champion Michelle Jenneke (NSW) will race in a strong field that includes Brianna Beahan (WA), Abbie Taddeo (Qld) and Liz Clay (Qld).
With nine athletes posting times under 1:50 seconds, Rio Olympian Peter Bol (WA) will have his work cut out for him in the men’s 800m. His main competition will come from NSW racers James Gurr and Jared West.
In the field events, South Canberra athlete Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT) will throw in the women’s javelin, while Melbourne University’s Joel Baden (Vic) competes in the high jump.
Additionally, Paralympic medallist Isis Holt (Vic) will be taking part in both the 100m and 200m ambulant races, while Rio teammate Nicholas Hum (Vic) will be competing in the long jump.
There’ll be little rest for Angie Ballard (NSW), who has entered for the wheelchair 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m races across three days of competition. In the 400m she’ll face fellow Paralympians Jake Lappin (Vic), Sam Carter (Qld) and Jemima Moore (ACT), while in the 800m and 1500m she’ll race against Doha IPC World Championships champion Madison de Rozario (WA).
For live results and preliminary start lists CLICK HERE.
For event timetable CLICK HERE.