Blake Steele (SA) has improved his personal best in the men’s 10,000m walk final at the IAAF world junior championships in Barcelona (ESP), as Michelle Jenneke (NSW), advanced to a semi-final in the 100m hurdles
Steele, who is on scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport and is coached by Brent Vallance, crossed the line in 43:04.81 to place 17th overall and improve his career best by more than eight seconds.
A graduate of Athletics Australia’s Under 17 Development and Under 19 Talent Squads, the 19-year-old has previous Australian experience from the 2010 Youth Olympic Games (10,000mW, 11th, 48:00) and the IAAF World Race Walking Cup (10kmW, 17th, 43:15).
Steele said: “I’m very happy with that considering the hot conditions, I’ve been working towards it for a long time now and it’s certainly about time that I hit a new PB.
“I woke up really well this morning, fresh as I could hope, my taper has been great and my overall preparation strong.
“Next year I’ll be moving up to the 20km walk and hope to go to the world university games. The time for that looks like it will be brought down to one hour and 26 minutes from one hour and 28 minutes so it won’t be easy but I have five months to prepare for my first crack at the qualifier and hopefully things will go well.
“I’m so lucky to work with such a great walks group at the AIS. All the Olympic spots this year are made up of AIS athletes and for me that means my training environment is ideal and I couldn’t ask for a better place to prepare for any kind of championship.”
Joining Steele on the start line for the boy’s 10,000m walk was 2011 IAAF world youth championships representative Brad Aiton (Qld), who was unfortunately disqualified from the event shortly after half way.
Jenneke arrived at the championships with a new personal record of 13.39 from the Bauhaus Junioren Gala a fortnight ago. The national under 20 champion, she continued that form today to take line honours in 13.52 (w: -1.8), almost two hundredths clear of Dou Wang (CHN, second, 13.71) and Sarah Lavin (IRL, third, 13.90).
Jenneke is a three-time age appropriate Australian champion in the 100m hurdles, and on Australian debut at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games she won a 100m hurdles silver medal.
Jenneke said: “The start felt really good, I was comfortable, and the rest just happened.
“I’d really like to improve on my PB in the semi, or hopefully the final. I wasn’t overly confident that I would win my heat today so that’s a bonus that gives me a boost for semi.
“I’ve been feeling really good in training and know that I can do well here. If I make a final anything is possible, this is hurdles after all, and with Nick (Hough) winning a silver yesterday I’d love to join him as a hurdles medallist. I am feeling really fast in my training and that’s fantastic but we will have to wait and see.”
Abbie Taddeo (NSW) joined Jenneke in the 100m hurdles, coming out of lane six one heat after her Australian Spark teammate to finish 4th in a time of 14.05 (w: -0.5). She will not progress to the round of 24.
Competing in qualifying rounds this session were Keshia McGrath-Volau (Qld), Taylah Sengul (NSW), Robert Johnston (Qld), Kaitlin Morgan (Tas), Jenny Blundell (NSW), Rob Lister (NSW) and Joel Hogarth (Vic).
McGrath-Volau threw 43.26m, a foul and 46.59m with her three attempts in qualifying group ‘A’, before Sengul heaved a foul, 43.96m and 45.87m in qualifying group ‘B’. McGrath-Volau finished 18th overall and Sengul 19th. They will not continue to the final. Johnston in the hammer throw threw 62.21m, 66.15m and 66.33m.
Morgan entered competition at 1.65m, before clearances at 1.70m and 1.75m. She stumbled at 1.79m and didn’t advance to the final.
In the girl’s 1500m, Youth Olympian Blundell was clocked 4:24.35 (7th) in heat, while in the 800m Lister placed 7th (1:51.42) and Hogarth 6th (1:53.98).
Rounding out the Australian Spark in action this morning is Melissa-Maree Farrington (NSW) competing in the heptathlon long jump, the 5th of seven events.
Farrington’s series saw her fly 5.90m (w: -0.2) on her second attempt to add 819 points to her total. With the javelin and the 800m to come later today, Farrington lays claim to 4061 points.
Competition continues at the Estadi Olimpic de Montjuic later today.
To download full results from the day session on day four at the IAAF world junior championships, please click here.
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