The Carlee Beattie Shield event at QSAC delivered a Commonwealth Games A qualifying time for Sally Pearson in the 100m sprint on Saturday.
Pearson, racing at the end of a four-day camp with the Australian women’s 4x100 Gold Coast GOLD relay squad, highlighted a host of national sprint talent on show, with Rohan Browning also impressing in the men’s 100m.
The reigning 100m hurdles world champion, clocked 11.17 (w2.0) on the flat to finish ahead of Australian record holder Melissa Breen (11.49) and Jessica Peris (11.66).
For Pearson, it’s a result that proves she’s on track for her third Commonwealth Games gold medal in the hurdles.
“It’s nice to reassure yourself that you’re doing everything right in training because you can always feel fit and feel fast and be ready to race but you’ve got to put the race together,” she said. “I know it’s only 100m but it’s such a technical event as well, it’s about getting the phases right. I just feel like I’m getting back to my old self again, which is exciting and feeling really good and the result has reassured me that everything’s going in the right direction.”
Browning meanwhile crossed the finish line in 10.19 (w0.1), ahead of Josh Clarke (10.34) and Trae Williams (10.46). The result was just .04 from a Commonwealth Games A qualifier which proved equally exciting as it was frustrating for the Sydney University student in only his first outing over the distance for the season.
“I’m stoked,” Browning said. “It felt really smooth. I went into this race with good mental clarity; I felt more confident that I’ve ever been in my shape. Me and Murph [coach, Andrew Murphy] have been working really hard – we’ve had a few hard seasons with injury. I came back from London then I went to Taiwan [World University Games]. I bombed hard at the end of what was a pretty tumultuous season, and I came back with a lot of resolve to tick all of the boxes and make sure that I really made the most of this season leading into the Commonwealth Games, so I’m just over the moon.”
Another factor driving Browning was that the race provided his second-ever hit out against great mate and rival, Jack Hale. Theirs is a story that goes back to 2015, when Hale ran into the national headlines with a wind-assisted 10.13 (+3.4 m/s), to finish just ahead of Browning at 10.18.
“I’ve spent the past week pumping myself up for this,” Browning admitted. “I knew it would be an awesome opportunity to run fast. I didn’t really expect to run that fast because that’s my first 100 for the year. I’ve only run one comp, and that was a 200, so I’m pretty thrilled.
“The other day I just finished reading Sally’s autobiography so who knows, maybe she gave me a few little pearls of wisdom.”
Browning jokingly admits that he was “out for retribution” against Hale this time around. Hale false-started on Saturday, something that left Browning believing that the edge had been taken off his rival.
“I was able to run away with it,” he said. “I feel like I was the dominant runner in that race, especially against a quality field.”
Like Pearson, the signs are good for Browning. His first hit-out in the 200m earlier this month was .09 off the Commonwealth Games A standard, leading the 20-year-old to be confident he can qualify for both sprint events. Browning, a member of the Gold Coast GOLD Relay squad for the men’s 4x100, said that the current crop of men’s sprinting talent is being fuelled by each other’s efforts with a healthy rivalry delivering results.
“The depth is awesome. When I ran that 200 last week, the coach Larcs [Adam Larcom] sent me a text saying ‘I’m so happy for you and us’. It’s true you know because we want to come out here and see the other guys running fast because you know that individually it’s very hard to medal on the world stage in the 100 – it’s very competitive. But you know, a Commonwealth Games running in front of a home crowd with a bunch of guys who run 10.1’s and 10.2s – we could medal for sure.”
In other events at the Carlee Beattie Shield:
- Gary Bourne coached Olympian Chelsea Jaensch opened her season with a windy jump of 6.60m (w2.8) in the women's long jump. Jaensch took the win in the competition ahead of 400m hurdler Lauren Wells who has recently been trying her hand at the long jump, reaching a distance that would've been a personal best had it not been wind-assisted, finishing with 6.54m (w2.6).
- In the men's long jump, 19-year-old Darcy Roper was also favoured by windy conditions reaching 7.86m (w4.5) ahead of Shemaiah James with 7.74m (w2.1).
- In her first competition since winning the bronze medal in the discus at the World University Games Taryn Gollshewsky threw her tenth Commonwealth Games B qualifier taking the win with 57.95m. In the men's discus, Julian Wruck opened his summer season with a Commonwealth Games B qualifying throw 61.48m.
- In the javelin, Rhys Stein threw 76.11m, his fourth Commonwealth Games B qualifier this year.
- Jessica Peris snuck under the GC2018 B qualifying time of 23.40 for the second time this month, registering 23.31 (w0.5).
Click here for full results.