It’s a case of ‘job done’ for one-lap specialists Morgan Mitchell (Vic) and Steve Solomon (NSW) on day five of the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships.
Taking to the track for their respective heats of the women’s and men’s 400m in wet conditions at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre, the duo crossed the line in 53.42 and 48.18 respectively to comfortably advance to the next round.
Mitchell has had a busy start to 2017, starring at Coles Nitro Athletics Melbourne and changing her training program to include more speed work. She has a new personal best that’s quicker than 51 seconds in her sights this season and hopes that the time will come this weekend.
“I’m pretty happy with that. 53.4 in the heat. I probably did want faster, but I thought don’t push it just in case. I thought let’s relax, go down the back and set it up. I did what my coach told me to do and I’m happy,” Mitchell said.
“A PB in the 200m or 400m here would be amazing. If it doesn’t happen there will be plenty of other opportunities, the big picture remains London and I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“We’ve started to ramp up 400m training now, and I’ve been enjoying the speed work before that. The recovery times (between runs) are long, and slow, and I’m impatient, but I’m seeing results on the track and I can’t complain too much.”
Mitchell will start as the fastest qualifier in the round-of-eight, with Olivia Tauro (NSW, 53.78), Angelique Blackburn (ACT, 54.63), Caitlin Jones (Qld, 54.67) and Lauren Wells (ACT, 54.84) rounding out the top-five who progressed.
Solomon’s start at the Australian Athletics Championships follows a busy fortnight of school commitments at Stanford University, with the London 2012 Olympic finalist returning home last night specifically to compete at the Selection Trial for the IAAF World Championships.
Cruising down the back straight, he sat among the leaders as they entered the straight before closing strongly to take victory and progress to the semi-final tomorrow.
“That was good. I had to get off the plane and move the legs. The conditions weren’t great, so I didn’t want to push it too hard. It felt smooth,” Solomon said.
“I’ve had a huge past few weeks of school so that’s a big stress off my shoulders. It’s good to come back and I hope to run well this weekend. Things have been nice and consistent for me in preparing so now we just have to wait and see what happens.”
Solomon will be joined in the semi-final by Luke Stevens (Vic), who carried over his Coles Nitro Athletics Melbourne form to win his heat of the 400m in 48.47. Clay Watkins (SA, 48.47), Alex Beck (Qld, 48.11) and Liam Procaccino (Qld, 48.60) also took line honours in their respective first round races.
In the longer men’s 800m, Peter Bol (Vic) redeemed his false start at the SUMMERofATHS Grand Prix by automatically progressing to the final as the second placed finisher in heat two.
Edged out by Josh Ralph (NSW, 1:49.89) for the victory, Bol was happy to have progressed through the do-or-die heats as chases his maiden national crown.
“It’s good to be through. I hate running heats when they are cut throat like that, but I got through it pretty comfortably,” Bol said.
“This is only my second race of the season. I was so disappointed about what happened in Canberra, but we I’ve got the heat and the final here, and am confident I’ll be warmed up for the title race.
“I won’t be false starting again, that’s for sure. I’ve run 1:45 before and I’d rather be slow to get going that hurt like I did when I missed the chance to run.”
The final will also feature last year’s Australian Athletics Championships gold medallist, Luke Mathews (Vic, 1:49.37), and the national record holder Alex Rowe (Vic, 1:49.99).
In other results on day five of the Australian Athletics Championships:
- With a final point score of 7559, Ashley Moloney eclipsed the Australian under 18 decathlon record to win gold from Lachlan Burrows (SA, second, 6263 points) and Luke Hunter (NSW, third, 4981 points).
- Jayden Sawyer (ACT, 47.88m) and Cameron Crombie (SA, 44.33m), who both have cerebral palsy, qualified for the ambulant javelin at the World Para-Athletics Championships with their gold and silver medal winning results respectively.
- Soaring 7.11m (w: +1.1), Nicholas Hum (Vic) recorded a qualifying standard for the World Para-Athletics Championships in the men’s long jump for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
- Cedric Dubler (Qld) closed out the first day of the men’s open decathlon with a five-event point score of 3979. He will open day two in the lead, with the 110m hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin and 1500m to come.
- Jenny Blundell (NSW) clocked 4:22.38 in a tactical women’s 1500m heat to progress to the final as the winner of heat one, with Linden Hall (Vic) taking line honours in heat two in 4:24.31. Zoe Buckman (Vic, 4:22.67) will also duel for gold this weekend.
The 2017 Australian Athletics Championships continue at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre tomorrow, with Hamish Peacock (Tas) opening proceedings in the qualification round of the men’s javelin throw.
For more information on the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships, including results, please click here.