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The 7 most anticipated contests at Nationals

There’s nothing better than head-to-head contests at the Australian Championships.

Looking at the data from our Tipping Competition (entries now closed), there a few events with essentially unbackable favourites: Peter Bol in the 800m, with 98% of the tips; and Liz Clay in the 100m hurdles with 95%.

But where things are perhaps most fascinating is events where there is no clear-cut favourite. Here’s the Top 7 Contests, based on entries in our tipping competition, where the most tipped athlete had 50% or less support.

Men’s 5000m: McSweyn vs Ramsden vs Rayner

Jack Rayner on his way to victory in the 2022 Zatopek:10

The #2 Australian all-time vs the national champion vs the new 10000m national record holder.

Our tipping contest presented the entry lists for each event and although Stewart McSweyn was most heavily tipped with 42% support, there’s a question mark over his participation after withdrawing from the World Indoors due to the COVID-related health concerns. He didn’t line up in the heats of the 1500m.

 Reigning champion Matthew Ramsden (31%) hasn’t competed over the distance this season but brings good racing form to the starting line, having finished 12th in the 3000m at the World Indoors.

Similarly, Jack Rayner  (24%) is in red hot form following his national record of 27:15.35 over 10000m earlier this month in the United States. One suspects that his 13:34 personal best is living on borrowed time should the race be anything other than a purely tactical affair, especially as he reportedly negatively split his 10km run with a 13:27 second half.

Women’s 100m: Connolly vs Hobbs vs Basic

Image by Jeff Wray

In form Australian sprinter vs New Zealand record holder vs reigning champion.

Ella Connolly has only suffered a single defeat this domestic season, in Adelaide over 200m at the hands of Olympian Riley Day. With an 11.25s personal best set in December, its not surprising that she received 44% of the tips made.

Flying somewhat under the radar is New Zealand record holder Zoe Hobbs, who has run 11. 14 seconds this year, along with a wind-assisted 11.07 (+2.7). She was a semi-finalist at the recent World Indoor Championships running 7.13 seconds in the heats for an Oceania record.

Reigning champion Hana Basic garnered 22% of the votes. Last year’s breakthrough sprinter, she has had a more subdued season to date, with a best mark this summer of 11.42 seconds for bronze at the Queensland Championships. Nonetheless, she is currently Australia’s top ranked athlete in the event for World Championships contention.

Women’s 400m: Oboya vs Connolly

Photo by Jeff Wray.

The interest this season around Bendere Oboya has been her step up to the 800m (where she will face national record holder Catriona Bisset), but she still remains the marginal favourite over one lap with 44% of the tips.

Connolly is just behind, with 43% of tippers picking her for victory in what would be a heavy program of tripling in the 100m, 200m and 400m.

New Zealand’s Rosie Elliott has only added the 400m to her repertoire this season, but with a 52.59 second run at the beginning of the month, is worthy of more than the 6% support she received from tippers.

Women’s 3000m steeplechase: A race in four

Although only having one mark to her name to judge form – an 8:53 indoor 3000m in December – Amy Cashin starts as the nominal favourite with 44% of the vote. She is the quickest in the field, with a personal best of 9:28.60 over the barriers.

Behind her, last year’s runner-up Cara Feain-Ryan received 21% of the tips, followed by Olympian Georgia Winkcup (16%) and in form Melbourne Track Classic victor, Brielle Erbacher (12%).

Top performances since 1 July (start of Commonwealth Games qualifying period)

RankEventNamePerformanceDate
13000m StGenevieve Gregson (maternity)9:17.819 July 2021
23000m StAmy Cashin9:34.671 August 2021
33000m StBrielle Erbacher9:39.7919 March 2022
43000m StGeorgia Winkcup9:41.5219 March 2022
53000m StCara Feain-Ryan9:45.1412 February 2022

 Men’s Javelin: McEntyre vs Peacock vs Lowis

A wide-open event, with the season leader Cameron McEntyre (79.67m) having the most support with 38% of tips. Four-time national champion Hamish Peacock cannot be discounted and received 31% of tips, while Queensland’s Nash Lowis has 23% support.

TTop performances since 1 July (start of Commonwealth Games qualifying period)

RankEventNamePerformanceDate
1JavelinCameron McEntyre79.67m9 January 2022
2JavelinHamish Peacock77.15m19 February 2022
3JavelinCruz Hogan76.35m25 February 2022
4JavelinLiam O'Brien75.58m19 March 2022
5JavelinHoward McDonald75.29m6 March 2022

Women’s Heptathlon: Crase vs West vs Burnett

Reigning title holder Taneille Crase recorded a season leading 5773 points in December and rightfully starts as favourite with 44% of tips.

Tori West’s title hopes were tormented last year by an injury in warm-up, but has the second best performance this summer of 5582 points in January, and has 28% of the tips.

Commonwealth Games representative Alysha Burnett hasn’t completed a heptathlon this season, but with some jumps and throws form on the board this season, received 22% of tips.

Women’s High Jump: Patterson vs McDermott

The highlight contest of the championships if it goes ahead, with support split between the 2 metre jumpers.

Eleanor Patterson is the nominal favourite with 50% support, just ahead of Nicola McDermott’s 49% (clearly the remaining 1% are expecting some no-height action). Both are silver medallists on the world stage in the past year, with Patterson stepping onto the podium at the recent World Indoor Championships, while McDermott’s medal was at the Olympic Games.

McDermott withdrew from the World Indoors, so there’s a question mark on whether she will line up at Nationals.

The contests that could have been, but aren’t

Both the men’s and women’s 1500m were highly anticipated, with support split. But their outcomes are now much more certain, following withdrawals.

Tipping wise, Ollie Hoare (51%) was favoured over Stewart McSweyn (31%) and reigning champion, Jye Edwards (11%). Hoare, a world indoor finalist, is now the hot favourite, with neither McSweyn or Edwards lining up.

Similarly, the world class milers Jessica Hull (53%) and Linden Hall (39%) split tipsters. Hull did not line up in the heats, but Hall won’t have the race all to herself, particularly with the inform Abbey Caldwell (5% support) having run 4:04 this summer and with great race form under her belt.

Check out all the tips

Here’s the percentage breakdown of tips entered for each event:

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