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Day & Connolly shine on track, as Zhoya soars to new heights

Monday, 27 March 2017 | Anonym



The rising stars of Australian sprinting have shone on day two of the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships, with Riley Day (Qld) and Ella Connolly (Qld) cruising to meet records at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre.

Taking to the start line for the girl’s under 18 100m, Day was strong out of the blocks and never looked back, clocking 11.59 (w: +0.5) to take line honours from the also Commonwealth Youth Games qualified Mia Gross (Vic, second, 11.88) and Kristie Edwards (NSW, third, 11.91).

“It’s a PB, I was hoping that that there wouldn’t be too big a tail wind, so a legal reading is good. I’m happy with it,” Day said.

“I made a decision to compete under 18 at these Championships and I’m happy with the result. I can run against the open girls when I’m an open athlete, but I’ll compete against those my own age for now.”

Day will now turn her attention to the 200m on Wednesday, with the heat and final for the event to feature in the program on day four.

“I’ve been looking forward to Nationals. I haven’t been as stressed as I normally would so that’s great. It’s the 200m that makes me anxious, it’s longer and I’m lazy,” Day joked.

Competing in the girl’s under 18 400m, Connolly edged out the also favoured Bendere Oboya (NSW, second, 53.02) to surge past the post in 52.96.

The time is the second fastest time by an Australian of any age in 2017, with only Morgan Mitchell (Vic) running quicker this season. It also strengthens her claim for nomination for selection to the green and gold team bound for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau (BAH).

Paralympic medallist, Isis Holt (Vic), also delivered a qualifier for the London 2017 World Para-Athletics Championships on track, running 28.97 (w: +0.9) to win the girl’s under 20 ambulant 100m.

Equally impressive in the boy’s under 16 pole vault was Sasha Zhoya (WA), with the 14-year-old soaring over 4.92m to improve both the Australian record and the world best for athletes of his age.

Coached by Alex Parnov and Paul Burgess at the Western Australian Institute of Sport, Zhoya entered the competition at 4.35m. He made light work of his opening height, 4.45m and 4.70m and 4.86m before a third attempt clearance at his winning mark.

He was joined on the dais today by Jack Downey (SA, second, 4.35m) and Nikolai Simmons (NSW, third, 4.10m).

“That was good pole vaulting. A good PB, and an Australian record, so I’m really happy,” Zhoya said.

“I was chasing the 4.92 clearance. I’ve been chasing it for a couple of months now, I’ve been confident it was there since I had the chance to jump in France earlier this year so I’m just really happy to have done it.”

“I only started pole vaulting two years ago so it’s pretty cool to be here now. It’s such an adrenaline rush. I absolutely love it.”

Zhoya will now prepare to compete in the men’s pole vault as part of open competition at the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships, where he hopes to clear the 5.00m height that eluded him today.

“Fingers crossed the 5.00m jump is there for the open event. I had to jump quite a bit out there today so ended up pretty tired on the runway. I don’t think that will be the case later in the week because the opening height will be bigger and I won’t come in as early.” Zhoya added.

In other results on day two of the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships:
-          Alex Roberts (Qld) threw 53.67m to win the girl’s under 18 javelin throw and qualify for the Commonwealth Youth Games, with the silver medallist, Ellie Bowyer (Qld), also staking her claim for nomination with a 53.59m throw.
-          The winner of the boy’s under 16 ambulant 200m, Sam Walker (Tas) qualified for the World Junior Para-Athletics Championships with his time of 12.48, with fellow cerebral palsy athlete Nathan Donaldson (Qld, 18.67) joining him.
-          Liam Richardson (Vic, 29.98) and Erin Garbler (Vic, 35.08), who have cerebral palsy, qualified for the World Junior Para-Athletics Championships via their medal winning results in the boy’s and girl’s under 20 ambulant 200m.
-          Tamsin Colley (NSW, 16.17), Rhiannon Clarke (WA, 14.00) and Alissa Jordan (NSW, 14.13) placed second, third and fifth respectively in the girl’s under 16 ambulant 100m, with their performances quicker than qualifying standards for their classification at the World Junior Para-Athletics Championships.
-          Colley also improved the world record in the T36 ambulant 800m, a non-Championship event for athletes with cerebral palsy, running 3:06.22 to win gold
-          Luke Young (NSW) improved the meet record in the boy’s under 17 1500m, crossing the line in 3:52.58 to win gold from Kiran Tibbals (WA, second, 3:57.18) and Luke Shaw (WA, third, 3:57.65).
-          Jake Doran (Qld) ran 10.47 (w: +2.0) in the heat of the boy’s under 18 100m to qualify for the Commonwealth Youth Games, while Edward Osei-Nketia (ACT) stopped the clock at 10.56 (w+1.5) to qualify with his win in the final.

The Australian Athletics Championships continue at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre tomorrow, with the program featuring Keely Small (ACT) in the heats of the girl's under 18 800m after she clocked an impressive personal best of 2:01.46 at the SUMMERofATHS Grand Prix.

For more information on the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships, including results, please click here.


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