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Athletes to watch in Townsville

Last ditch efforts by Australian based athletes to make the team for Tokyo take place this weekend at the Festival of Athletics in Townsville.

Based on the entry lists, here’s the athletes to watch out for and what performances they will require to remain, or become, eligible for selection to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Olympic qualifying period closes 29 June.

Women’s 100m hurdles: Sunday 11:55am

A talented field of four line up: Hannah Jones, Brianna Beahan, Celeste Mucci and Abbie Taddeo.

Beahan is currently the top ranked of the quartet, at 1205 points and 39th position within an event quota of 40 for Tokyo. Jones is marginally behind due to rounding, with her 1205 points effectively 40th. To each improve their overall ranking score by at least a single point, they will need performances of:

  • Beahan: 1st in 13.14 or 2nd in 13.10
  • Jones: 1st in 13.01 or 2nd in 12.98

Mucci and Taddeo can’t move into the quota with a single performance less than the Olympic entry standard of 12.84 seconds.

Sara Klein on her way to winning the 2019 Oceania title. (Photo by Casey Sims)

Women’s 400m hurdles: Friday 5:45pm

All three of Australia’s Tokyo aspirants line up: Sarah Carli, Lauren Boden and Sara Klein, as does New Zealand’s Portia Bing, who won last week on the Gold Coast.

Carli will have her first race since a gym injury earlier this year kept her out of the domestic season. In December, she recorded her Olympic qualifying mark of 55.09 seconds and will look to demonstrate form.

Boden and Klein are ranked 37th and 39th respectively within the 40 quota field for Tokyo. To improve their current ranking scores they will require runs of:

  • Boden: 1st in 56.46, 2nd in 56.30, 3rd in 56.14 or 4th in 55.98.
  • Klein: 1st in 57.51, 2nd in 57.35, 3rd in 57.18 or 4th in 57.02.

Women’s Hammer Throw: Saturday 11:15am

Alexandra Hulley sees herself currently ranked 33rd for the 32 quota field for Tokyo. To re-enter the quota at its current level she needs to win with a performance of at least 69.59m.

Women’s 3000m steeplechase: Friday 7:30pm

Australian championship silver medallist Cara Feain-Ryan lines up as favourite in this event, which also has current quota qualified athletes Paige Campbell (34th) and Georgia Winkcup (39th) on the start list. However, unlike them, Feain-Ryan sits just outside the 45 person quota for the event.

To re-enter the quota at it’s current level, Feain-Ryan will need to win in at least 9:46.23.

From there, with Genevieve Gregson already selected and Amy Cashin (Olympic qualifier with 9:28.60 to her name) presumably going to be picked, the race might be viewed as a mini selection trial for the final spot.

Abbey Caldwell leads Lauren Ryan in the 1500m at the 2021 Melbourne Track Classic at Lakeside Stadium.

Women’s 1500m: Saturday 9:15am

Abbey Caldwell had a breakthrough domestic season in her first year out of the junior ranks, running a personal best of 4:08.57 to finish second at the national championships behind Australian record holder Linden Hall. That rocketed Caldwell into contention for a quota position, but she has since dropped to 51st for the 45 person field.

Last week on the Gold Coast she won in her second fastest career time of 4:09.22. Hall is entered to race in Townsville, which would certainly assist with a fast pace. Caldwell would require at least 4:11.16 were she to win, or 4:10.51 if finishing second, to move into the quota at its current level.

Men’s 110m hurdles: Sunday 12:00pm

Nicholas Andrews sits just outside the 40 person quota for Tokyo, in 41st place. He’s joined on the starting line by Nicholas Hough, who sits comfortably in the quota at 31st place, as well as Jacob McCorry and decathletes Ash Moloney and Cedric Dubler.

Andrews will need to win in 13.54 seconds to move back into the quota at its current level, or otherwise run 13.51 seconds if he finishes second.

Men’s 400m: Saturday 12:15pm

National champion Alex Beck is within the 48 person quota, in 44th place. He has a buffer of 10 ranking points from the last quota place. Nonetheless, he’ll be looking to improve his standing, and will if he wins in at least 45.84 seconds.

Chris Douglas on his way to breaking 50 seconds for the first time at the 2021 Melbourne Track Classic at Lakeside Stadium.

Men’s 400m hurdles: Friday 5:50pm

Chris Douglas sits precariously inside the 40 person quota, in 39th place with the same ranking score of 1193 points as the 40th ranked athlete. Three international athletes sit just 3 points lower and could move into the rankings with performances by 29 June.

To strengthen his current score Douglas needs to win in at least 50.27 seconds.

Other athletes, now requiring the Olympic qualifier

Time has run out for a number of athletes to be seeking quota qualifying positions, with Townsville effectively the last competition for Australian based athletes. The athletes below can’t score enough points in Townsville for a quota place, without needing to record the Olympic Entry Standard in their event:

  • Jack Hale in the 100m, requiring 10.05 seconds (Heats: Saturday 10:15am, Final Saturday 5:05pm)
  • Matthew Clarke in the 3000m steeplechase, requiring 8:22.00 (Friday 7:15pm)
  • Angus Armstrong in the pole vault, requiring 5.80m (Saturday 10:00am)
  • Damien Birkinhead in the shot put, requiring 21.10m (Friday 6:00pm)
  • Liam O’Brien in the javelin, requiring 85.00m (Saturday 3:30pm)
  • Alysha Burnett and Tori West in the heptathlon, requiring 6420 points (Friday and Saturday)
Nicola McDermott set a new Australian high jump record, clearing 2.00m at the 2021 Australian Championships in Sydney. (Photo by Steve Christo for Athletics Australia)

Fine tuning Olympic preparations

Nicola McDermott will be in action in the high jump, looking to again be over the 2.00m barrier after having attempts at the height last weekend on the Gold Coast.

After a wind-assisted victory over 100m over Hana Basic on the Gold Coast, Riley Day will run the 100m as well returning to her pet event, the 200m.

After securing an Olympic qualifier with a 66.15m personal best last week, Matt Denny will look to improve further, while Dani Samuels is in action in the women’s event.

Australia’s trio of javelin throwers Kelsey Lee-Roberts, Kathryn Mitchell and Mackenzie Little will go head to head. Lee-Roberts will look to find form that will make her competitive in Tokyo, while Mitchell is the one to beat, with a 63.50m win last week on the Gold Coast. Little will be looking to go over 60m to consolidate her 29th ranking in the 32 quota field.

Brooke Stratton will have her first competition since the Australian Championships in April.

Making his return to the track after missing the two Gold Coast meets is Rohan Browning, in the 100m.

Unfortunately there is no live stream of this meet. Live results can be followed via Queensland Athletics.

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