Anticipation ahead of the 2012 IAAF world junior championships steps up today as the Australian Spark touch down in Mannheim (GER) to begin final preparations for the Barcelona (ESP) hosted event later this month.
Set to compete at the Bauhaus Junioren Gala this weekend before an additional competition opportunity in Karlsruhe (GER) next week, the team will arrive in Spain on July 2 and into the team hotel four days later.
Sara Mulkearns, Australian Spark team leader, said: "It's great to finally be on the road to Europe, the build-up to this stage of the world juniors journey has been a very busy and exciting one. Competition opportunities are now upon us and for the athletes it will be the culmination of fantastic training and hard work with the support of their knowledgeablepersonal coaches and dedicated families.
"The first outing for the Australian Spark will be at the Bauhaus Junioren Gala hosted by the German Athletics Federation this weekend. It's the second time an Australian squad has competed at the event after we were invited for the first time last year, and we couldn't ask for a better warm-up with near on 20 countries using this event as a pre-cursor to the world junior championships.
“As Team Leader I'm most looking forward to seeing how the Spark will perform against the best athletes for their age group in the world. It is a very strong team and we have done all we can in collaboration with the athletes, coaches andtheir support networks to prepare. We look forward to great learning and positive outcomes for all team members.”
Steven Solomon (NSW, 400m), Liz Parnov (WA, pole vault), Brooke Stratton (Vic, long jump, triple jump), Brandon Starc (NSW, high jump), Nick Hough (NSW, 110m hurdles) and Jake Stein (NSW, decathlon) have been nominated as Spark leaders.
Solomon and Parnov are also identified for nomination to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in the men’s 4x400m relay and the women’s pole vault respectively. In 2012, Solomon won a second consecutive 400m national crown in a personal best time of 45.54, while Parnov soared her Olympic qualifying mark of 4.50 in Perth (WA) in February before winning the nomination trial at the Qantas Melbourne Track Classic.
In Mannheim this weekend, Stratton and her teammate Damien Birkinhead (Vic) will return to the stadium where they set the girl’s under 20 national long jump record (6.60m) and then boy’s under 20 shot put record (20.10m) respectively last year.
Starc (silver, high jump) and Hough (gold, 110m hurdles) were both medallists at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, while Stein set a world youth lead in the boy’s octathlon when he won the gold medal at the 2011 IAAF world youth championships in Lille (FRA) last July.
Barcelona is playing host to the fourteenth instalment of the IAAF world junior championships, with a record number of athletes from over 170 IAAF member federations set to descend on the host city of the 1992 Olympic Games.
The main stadium from those Games, the Montjuic Olympic Stadium, will be the arena in which these championships are competed.
Competition commences on July 10, 2012 and continues for six days.
Meanwhile in Nivelles (BEL) this Saturday, Sally Pearson (Qld, 100m hurdles), Ben Offereins (WA, 400m), Melissa Breen (ACT, 100m), Brendan Cole (ACT, 400m hurdles), Lauren Boden (ACT, 400m hurdles), Tamsyn Manou (Vic, 800m) and Lachlan Renshaw (NSW, 800m) will start at the Meeting International Lotto Cup.
Pearson will start after equalling her world lead (12.49) to win the 100m hurdles at theSamsung Diamond League meet in Oslo (NOR), while Offereins, Breen, Boden and Cole will all line up after arriving in Europe to continue their Olympic preparation this week.
Manou and Renshaw, who are both set to start in the 800m, continue their hunt for Athletics Australia qualifiers for the Olympic Games.
For more information the Meeting International Lotto Cup, please click here.
2012 IAAF world junior championships
July 10-15, 2012
100m: Carla Williams (Qld), Ashleigh Whittaker (Vic)
200m: Monica Brennan (Vic), Williams
400m: Morgan Mitchell (Vic), Abbey de la Motte (Tas)
1500m: Jenny Blundell (NSW)
100m hurdles: Michelle Jenneke (NSW), Abbie Taddeo (NSW)
400m hurdles: Sara Klein (NSW), Tessa Consedine (Vic)
3000m steeplechase: Tess Potezny (SA)
10,000m walk: Rachel Tallent (Vic), Jessica Pickles (Qld)
Pole vault: Paris McCathrion (Vic), Liz Parnov (WA)
High jump: Kaitlin Morgan (Tas)
Long jump: Brooke Stratton (Vic), Margaret Gayen (SA)
Triple jump: Josie Nichol (NSW), Stratton
Discus throw: Taylah Sengul (NSW), Keshia McGrath-Volau (Qld)
Hammer throw: Danielle McConnell (Tas), Mikayla Genge (Tas)
Javelin: Wasie Toolis (Qld), Monique Cilione (Vic)
4x100m relay: Williams, Whittaker, Brennan, Brooke Pires-Paranzee (WA), Ella Nelson (NSW)
4x400m relay: Mitchell, de la Motte, Emily Coppins (NSW), Ella Solin (WA), Sarah Carli (NSW)
Heptathlon: Melissa Farrington (NSW)
100m: Ben Jaworski (NSW), Hugh Donovan (Qld)
200m: Jaworski, Donovan
400m: Steve Solomon (NSW), Jarryd Buchan (Vic)
800m: Rob Lister (NSW), Joel Hogarth (Vic)
110m hurdles: Nicholas Hough (NSW)
400m hurdles: Gatkauth Chol (Qld)
10,000m walk: Blake Steele (SA), Brad Aiton (Qld)
Pole vault: Brodie Cross (Vic)
High jump: Brandon Starc (NSW)
Shot put: Damien Birkinhead (Vic)
Discus throw: Mitchell Cooper (Qld), Jake Stein (NSW)
Hammer throw: Robert Johnston (Qld)
Javelin: Luke Cann (Vic), William White (Qld)
4x100m relay: Jaworski, Donovan, Hough, Simon Greig (Vic), Alexander Hartmann (Qld), Matthew Bertacco (Vic)
4x400m relay: Solomon, Buchan, Max Waldron (Tas), Keith Rodrigo (Vic), Jay Meaney (Qld)
Decathlon: Stein, Cedric Dubler (Qld)
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