Off the back of a home Commonwealth Games, recent record-breaking performances by Australian athletes internationally and with the busy domestic winter competition season ending, Athletics Australia announced the 2018/19 Australian Summer Athletics Season in Melbourne today, including some exciting new competition initiatives.
The summer season ahead is highly anticipated, especially for those athletes, fans and media who weren’t lucky enough to escape the Australian winter for the northern hemisphere athletics action.
Importantly, the 2018/19 summer season will provide Australian athletes with the opportunity to earn valuable IAAF ranking points at all National Permit meets, including significantly better bonus points at the four track classics (Canberra, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane) and the National Championships in Sydney.
The prestigious Zatopek Classic in Melbourne and the Hunter meet will provide the next tier of ranking point opportunities.
The competition standard across the summer will be high, with so many Australian athletes having world class seasons in 2018 and international athletes also expected to chase strong competition and IAAF ranking points.
Champion athletes attended the summer themed, rooftop pool and BBQ, season launch in Melbourne including Sally Pearson, Joseph Deng, Peter Bol, Jaryd Clifford, Todd Hodgetts and Jemima Montag.
New Australian 800m record holder Joseph Deng and his Olympian training partner Peter Bol are looking forward to racing hard over the summer.
“Pete and I want to continue to go out there and run as fast as possible and keep pushing each other to be better athletes,” Deng said at the launch.
“With our coach Justin (Rinaldi) we have started discussing our plans to run distances from 400 to 1500. At this point we will run the Hunter meet, then run some indoor races in Europe and then be back home to run Perth and Brisbane ahead of Nationals.
"Pete and I are both determined to win our first national title.”
Olympic and world championship gold medallist Sally Pearson, who missed the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games through injury, is looking forward to being back racing during the summer season.
“It’s a little early in my training preparation to identify specific meets,” Pearson said. “But I will definitely be targeting the Nationals in March.
“It looks like a great domestic season of athletics and I’m hoping that the public will come and support us.”
The new concepts in the 2018/19 season include:
- the Nitro Schools Challenge in Cairns after the Australian All Schools Championships
- a two-day Festival in Canberra (after Australia Day) which will include a street pole vault and shot put, the world cross-country trials and a high-performance meet - at a track renowned for fast times
- a week long Australian Junior and Senior Championships, in Sydney
Para events will be integrated during the track classics and Australian Championships. The ‘Summer Down Under’ wheelchair series will also continue its tradition, along with the Oz Day 10km at The Rocks in Sydney.
Following the various State Championships, the Australian Junior Combined Events Championships (U15-U18) will be held in Hobart. The season will culminate from 30 March in Sydney with the week-long Australian Junior and Senior Championships, which will be a big point scoring opportunity for the elites looking ahead to the senior World Championships in October.
Off the back of outstanding performances in recent months Athletics Australia CEO Darren Gocher is excited for the season ahead.
“It is an exciting time for the sport in Australia with great momentum going into the summer season,” Gocher said.
“Who could forget the huge crowds and great performances at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games?
“Since April there have been numerous Australian senior and junior records set, world records from Para athletes, the outstanding Australian results from the World U20s Team, and Australians are featuring in the Diamond Leagues Finals in Europe this week.
“Australian athletes dominate the Asia/Pacific Continental Cup team, with 26 selected for next month, at the major global outdoor event of the year.
“Domestically the road and cross-country season has provided months of exciting racing, and importantly recreational running numbers are on the rise.”
Elite athletes and their coaches are already devising their plans for success at the major meets over the next two years: 2019 World Championships in Doha, 2019 Para-athletics World Championships in Dubai and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. For many athletes the 2019 World University Games in Naples and the 2020 World U20 Championships in Nairobi are on the radar.
“The 2018/19 Australian Summer Athletics Season will provide local athletes with the perfect opportunity to achieve IAAF ranking points in Australia, and we urge fans to get out and celebrate Australia’s great athletes and experience the fantastic competition,” Gocher said.
Further information on the exciting 2018/19 Australian Summer Athletics Season will be available the coming weeks at athletics.com.au and via the AA social channels.