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Stars to align at Chemist Warehouse Sydney Track Classic this Saturday

Published Wed 20 Mar 2024

Under the bright lights of the iconic E.S Marks Athletics Field, the stage is set for the Sydney Track Classic this Saturday night as Australia’s premier athletes gear up for the last dance before the Chemist Warehouse Australian Athletics Championships next month.

At its heart, the Australian 3000m Championships will see Olympic finalist and national record holder Jessica Hull (Simon Hull) present in career-best form to defend her title, while Jude Thomas (Collis Birmingham) toes the line on a mission to secure a historic hat-trick at only 22-years-old.

While the 3000m in not featured on the Olympic program, the championships hold extra significance this year, with ranking points accrued contributing to world rankings for the 5000m at Paris 2024.

Hull’s season, already punctuated by a World Indoor Championships appearance and a 8:24.39 Australian record, places her in pole position for the crown, but Olympic 5000m duo Rose Davies (Scott Westcott) and Isobel Batt-Doyle (Nic Bideau) have made significant inroads of late, becoming the fourth and fifth Australian women to dip under the 15-minute barrier in the 5000m at the Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne.

“It’s a national championships, so the goal is to add another medal to the collection, but with Izzy (Batt-Doyle) and Rose (Davies) running, there is a lot more on the line so it will be a really great race for me to run this year,” Hull said.

Thomas has reigned supreme over the distance for the past two years and will go for the three-peat, with a number of world-class competitors hot on his heels. Matt Ramsden (Nic Bideau) will use his speed to bolster his Olympic 5000m hopes when finding the sweet spot between his traditional disciplines, while Australian Under 20 record holder Cameron Myers (Dick Telford) has proven he has the talent and maturity to contend for his fist Open age title.

The high jump will see the domestic return of 2022 world champion Eleanor Patterson (Alex Stewart) who will launch her season and be out to emulate the two-metre jumps that she has become globally renown for. Similarly, Rio Olympian Joel Baden (Sandro Bisetto) headlines the men’s field in a battle against Yual Reath (Paul Cleary).

Olympic finalist Brooke Buschkuehl (Russell Stratton) will spearhead the Women’s Long Jump field, with the Australian record holder at 7.13m set to leap for Sydney glory. The 30-year-old will be challenged by Australian representatives Samantha Dale (Andrew Murphy) and Elizabeth Hedding (Alex Stewart), as two-time Paralympian Sarah Walsh (Matt Beckenham) gets set to fly ahead of the World Para Athletics Championships in Kobe, Japan in May.

On a night featuring action-packed 4x100m relays, Australia’s fastest athletes will ignite the home straight for the individual 100m events, with Sydneysiders set to flock to see local favourite Rohan Browning (Andrew Murphy) continue his Paris Olympic campaign.

Racing in a field featuring Olympic medallist and sub-10 second man Ryota Yamagata of Japan, the 10.01-second man will launch another attempt at the 10.00 Olympic standard, spurred on by the challenges of Jacob Despard (Rolf Ohman) and 20-year-old Lachlan Kennedy (Andrew Iselin).

Ebony Lane (Matt Carter) will have the Women’s 100m field under pressure early, with the even contest including Commonwealth relay medallists Bree Masters (Ryan Hoffman) Naa Anang, Mia Gross (John Nicolosi) and Ella Connolly (Andrew Murphy) poised to produce one of the best races on the program.

In the para ranks, World Para Athletics Championships medallist Mali Lovell (T36, Katie Edwards and Melinda Gainsford-Taylor) will launch out of the blocks chasing her first 100m A-qualifier for Paralympics, with Commonwealth Games representative Indi Cooper (T38, Rowan Vergano) also on board to compete in the Women’s Ambulant 100m.

Featuring Australia’s two fastest women in history over 800m, national record holder Catriona Bisset (Ned Brophy-Williams) and Commonwealth medallist Abbey Caldwell (Gavin Burren) headline the two-lap affair, also featuring World Athletics Championships representative Ellie Sanford (Ned Brophy-Williams). Australian Under 20 record holder Peyton Craig (Brendan Mallyon) will headline the men’s field having notched three consecutive 1:45 performances this season, taking on Jye Perrott (Ben Liddy), Jack Lunn (Steve Fabris) and rising talent Luke Boyes (Ben St Lawrence).

Fresh off her 10th New South Wales state title, Michelle Jenneke (Bronwyn Thompson) will race as a popular pick in the Women’s 100m Hurdles when meeting Olympic teammate and rival Liz Clay (David Reid and Sharon Hannan), who is closing in on the 12.77 Olympic standard, with two wins in the Chemist Warehouse Summer Series to date.

Tayleb Willis (Peter Benifer) remains eager to back up his victory in the Men’s 110m Hurdles at the Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne, meeting World Championships representative Jacob McCorry (Alex Stewart) and longtime rival Mitchell Lightfoot (Alex Stewart) in a field which also includes Japan’s Ken Toyoda.

The Sydney Track Classic is a World Athletics Continental Tour Challenger meet, and one of the final qualification opportunities on home soil for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The meet offers crucial world ranking points that help athletes reach the World Athletics Championships and the Olympic Games.

The meet begins at 4pm AEDT, and will be streamed live and free on Seven’s digital platform, 7plus from 5.30-7:35pm AEDT.

Tickets to the meet can be purchased HERE.

By Sascha Ryner and Lachlan Moorhouse, Athletics Australia
Posted: 20/3/2023