This week marks an important milestone in the journey of our junior athletes toward Tampere – the Finnish city which will host the World U20 Championships in July.
The qualifying period is now open and the Australian athletes are going about reaching pre-departure standards to ensure they are in form and ready to represent the green and gold in the best possible shape on the world stage. As the leadership team of Sara Heasly (Junior HP Manager), Paul Pearce (National Junior coach) and Jen Chan (Senior Coordinator, Teams & Operations) at Athletics Australia have noted, a personal best or bettering of your personal best at the championships will indicate a successful campaign.
The World U20 Championships are the pinnacle for Australia’s best teenage athletes and continues to be a key stepping stone towards senior Australian representation.
The 56-member team, which includes two Commonwealth Games representatives, sprinter Riley Day and heptathlete Celeste Mucci, have five weeks to achieve the pre-departure standards.
The team will assemble at a pre-departure camp in Townsville (6-10 June) where they will undertake a few team activities, a competition and an important opportunity to meet their teammates and staff who will support them on this journey.
The team will depart in two waves, the first being 20 June followed by the final group on 26 June. The earlier group will include the Manheim U20 Gala competition before the athletes head north to Finland.
During this week when we recognize the great volunteers in our sport, it is timely we remember the many people behind an athlete. Members of their support network which can include the coach, family, friends, club and training partners.
David Tarbotton for Athletics Australia