In a boost for Australian athletics the Melbourne Track Classic has been granted Continental Tour Gold status by World Athletics.
The meet will be held at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne on Thursday 23 February under the new name of the Maurie Plant Meet, in the week following the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst. The status for the meet means that Melbourne will return to being the host of the most prestigious held in Australia each year, with international athletes competing at scale in Melbourne for the first time since 2017 during the short lived Nitro Athletics series.
The World Athletics Contintental Tour Gold series includes meets of the calibre of Tokyo, Turku, Budapest, New York and Ostrava and bring to Australia considerable benefits for athletes and fans:
- Category A meet for World Athletics Rankings, which are important for qualifying for the World Championships
- A minimum US$200,000 in prize money
- A minimum of 15% of the athletes participating in the meet will be from outside Oceania
- In at least 12 of the events, a minimum of 3 athletes from the Top 50 in the world (3 per country basis) to participate
- An expectation from World Athletics of at least 3,000 spectators at the meet
The meet has been renamed in memory of Maurie Plant, who died in 2020. Plant was a colourful identity in Australian athletics, most known for his role as Athletics Australia’s international athlete liaison, a booming voice as a meet commentator and for supporting the careers of numerous athletes on the international circuit, including Cathy Freeman, Steve Hooker and Sally Pearson.
The Melbourne Track Classic had previously been part of the IAAF World Athletics Tour until the mid-2010s, but towards the end of that period was overtaken by the Sydney Track Classic, and then more recently, the Brisbane Track Classic, as the top performing meet of the Australian domestic season.
- The Australian Athletics Instagram Elite: Top Influencers of 2023In the age of social media, athletes have a unique platform to share their journeys, inspire fans, and promote their sport. Australian athletics is no exception.
- 10 things to know about this summer athletics season2024 is an Olympic year and all eyes for Australia’s athletes will be on qualifying for Paris.
- La route de Paris – 300 days until the athletics at the Olympic GamesCheck out which Australians are on track to compete in the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad in the French capital.
- Hull caps sensational year with 5th place in RigaJess Hull has finished a marathon length season with fifth place in the Mile at the World Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia.
- 800m records at NSW All SchoolsIvy Boothroyd and Daniel Williams recorded the fastest 800m times in the 87 year history of the NSW All Schools Championships.