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Records Tumble as Chase for Paris Games Heats Up

Published Mon 18 Mar 2024

On a weekend that saw Australia’s top athletes notch up Paralympic and World Under 20 qualifiers led by Mali Lovell and Sebastian Sultana across State Championships, it was Lauren Ryan and Jack Rayner who stole the show with a pair of Australian 10,000m records in California.

Clinching both the Australian record and Olympic qualification, Lauren Ryan (Lara Rogers) delivered the performance of her life to clock 30:35.66 over 10,000m at Sound Running’s The TEN in San Juan Capistrano, eclipsing Benita Willis’ mark of 30:37.68 from the 2003 World Championships in Paris.

Carving 94 seconds off her career-best to place third in the field of Olympic hopefuls, the reigning Australian champion put her best foot forward for a dream Olympic debut in Paris, while compatriot Holly Campbell (Jeremy Roff) also set a personal best of 31:44.67.

Fellow Australian Jack Rayner (Nic Bideau) sliced six seconds off his own national record in the men’s event with a performance of 27:09.57 to finish in 13th place, flexing his form during a bold bid to secure the Olympic standard of 27:00. Hovering around 65-second laps (400m) for most of the 25-lap encounter, Rayner produced a closing split of 61-seconds to stretch the buffer on his previous mark.

World Para Championships silver medallist Mali Lovell (Katie Edwards & Melinda Gainsford-Taylor) kept the Australian record theme rolling when clocking her fourth Paralmypic A qualifier of 30.00 (-1.7) in the 200m T36, complementing the run with a 14.73 (-0.3) performance for a B qualifier in the 100m T36.

Further Paralmypic B qualifiers were secured by Abby Craswell (Andrew Craswell) who set a new personal best of 14.45 (+1.5) in the 100m T36 in Queensland, while Alexander McKillop (Rosie Coleman) matched the feat with a 12.16 (+0.5) reading in Tasmania.

A weekend featuring both the Queensland Athletics and Athletics New South Wales State Championships largely belonged to the nation’s sprinters, as Australia’s Women’s 4x400m strengthened their qualification position for the 2024 World Relay Championships in the Bahamas this May.

Racing in Queensland, the quartet of Mikeala Selaidinakos (Steve Gaffney), Ellie Beer (Brett Robinson), Jemma Pollard (Tim Eschebach), Sarah Carli (Melissa Smith) stopped the clock in 3:30.66 to propel Australia to 26th on the rankings, with the top 32 countries to earn a berth. The qualification attempt was made possible thanks to Papua New Guinea, who provided international competition. On international soil, Alanah Yukich (Jackie Richards) joined in on the quarter mile action with a personal best of 52.77 at UTSA Invitational.

Liz Clay (David Reid & Sharon Hannan) continued her journey towards a second Olympic Games with a run of 12.93 (+0.5) in the 100m hurdles, serving up her fastest legal time of the season ahead of Saturday’s Chemist Warehouse Sydney Track Classic where she will look to make it three-from-three on the national circuit.

The 110m hurdles was won by World Championships representative Jacob McCorry (Alex Stewart) in 13.73 (+1.3), who beat home training partner Mitchell Lightfoot (Alex Stewart) in 13.84.

Leading the sprinting action, Kristie Edwards (David Reid) set a new personal best over 100m with a run of 11.28 (+2.0), while the wind gauge was less kind to Australia’s fastest woman Torrie Lewis (Andrew Iselin) who blasted her way to a 22.68 (+2.8) victory over 200m. Calab Law (Andrew Iselin) followed suit in 20.60 (+0.1) to take out his semi-final.

16-year-old Queenslander Gout Gout (Diane Sheppard) blazed his way down the straight in 10.29 (0.0) to rewrite his career-best run and narrowly miss Sebastian Sultana’s Under 18 national record of 10.27, with Sultana (Greg Smith) himself improving his personal best in New South Wales with a 10.25 (+0.2) run to clinch the Open title at 18-years-old. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Zara Hagan (Chris Dale) led a host of junior women in a personal best of 11.53 (+1.9).

Terrell Thorne (Sharon Dale) joined in on the 2024 World Under 20 Championships qualifying party when clocking the fastest 400m of his young career in 46.87, while William Wong (Eric Wong) coasted over the 110m hurdles in 13.72 (-1.3). Toby Stolberg (Marty Stolberg) also nailed her first qualifier for what would be her second Under 20 Championships, soaring over 1.83m to finish behind World Championships representative Erin Shaw (Alex Stewart) with 1.86m in the high jump.

At Sydney Olympic Park, Izobelle Louison-Roe (Karen Roe) punched in a further two qualifiers of her own with marks of 13.13m (triple jump) and 1.83m (high jump), while junior national record holder Isaac Beacroft (David Beacroft) walked to a stunning 19:23.96 over 5000m. Charlize Goody (Mark Sills & Mick Moore) and Chelsy Wayne (Dennis Knowles) notched up qualifiers in the discus with efforts of 50.91m and 50.56m respectively.

World Championships silver medallist Mackenzie Little (Angus McEntyre) opened her year with a 60.92m to secure the javelin state title in New South Wales, while Michelle Jenneke (Bronwyn Thompson) took out the 100m hurdles in 13.06 (+0.2) and Desleigh Owusu (Andrew Murphy) leapt to 13.68 (+0.7) in the triple jump. Mia Gross (John Nicolosi) took line honours in the Women's 200m in 23.16 (+0.6), while Josh Azzopardi (Rob Marks) won back his state title in 20.83 (+0.7).

By Lachlan Moorhouse, Athletics Australia
Posted: 18/3/2023