A personal best in the women’s 1500m to Melissa Duncan (Vic) has seen the 25-year-old stake her maiden claim for selection to the Australian Flame team bound for Beijing 2015.
Stopping the clock at 4:05.56 behind winner Laura Muir (GBR, 4:00.39), Duncan’s performance for ninth at Round 6 of the IAAF Diamond League improved on her previous quickest ever time set in the heat at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and moves her to fifth on the Australian all-time list.
Duncan’s start in Oslo (NOR) follows a recent training camp in Flagstaff (USA) alongside athletes including Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Jess Trengove (SA) and her training partners Brittany McGowan (Qld) and Michael Roeger (SA). Late last month she placed fourth in the women’s 1500m at the Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic in Los Angeles (USA), with this result sitting alongside a strong showing on the Australian Athletics Tour including victories in the metric mile in Canberra (ACT) and Adelaide (SA), as well as at the Auckland Track Challenge.
Zoe Buckman (Vic), who is also qualified for the IAAF World Championships, joined Duncan on the start line for the women’s 1500m, crossing in 4:14.81, as Selma Kajan (NSW) provided the race’s pace.
The national 1500m record holder Ryan Gregson (NSW) started in the Dream Mile at the Bislett Games. Competitive throughout the four-lap race and challenging the leaders along the back straight in the final stages, the 25-year-old ran 3:54.88 to narrowly miss the qualifying standard for Beijing 2015 and place 9th.
The silver medallist behind Jeff Riseley (Vic) in the men’s 1500m at the Australian Athletics Championships, Gregson ran 3:56.78 in the men’s mile at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene (USA) last month. He won double bronze in the men’s 4x800m relay and men’s distance medley relay at the IAAF World Relays in Nassau (BAH).
Competing in national level events in Oslo (NOR) were Kelly Hetherington (Vic) and James Hansen (Tas). Hetherington clocked 2:05.61 in the women’s 800m to open her European season and Hansen continued his preparation for the World University Games with a 3:47.48 run in the men’s 1500m.
The IAAF Diamond League rolls on this Saturday 13 June in New York (USA), with Genevieve LaCaze (Vic) and Hamish Peacock (Tas) to fly the Australian flag in the women’s 3000m steeplechase and the men’s javelin respectively.
It will be LaCaze’s first competitive hit out in the steeplechase since winning the Australian championship in Brisbane (Qld) in March and follows a 4:32.6h run in the women’s mile at the Adrian Martinez Classic this past weekend.
“Qualifying is the main goal in New York. That is what I am going there to do so anything less than that would mean I haven’t done my job. Looking at the field, and since it is a Diamond League event, the competition will be strong so I would be silly to not compete for a good place. The time should come if I go out there, compete well and race tough,” LaCaze said.
“Since two other Aussie steeplechasers (Madeline Heiner and Victoria Mitchell) have already hit the time, it will fill up the three spots for the Australian team in Beijing if I qualify this Saturday, but that is how it should be. It is great to see the steeplechase event growing and getting stronger each year as we have more and more girls running fast.
“That said, at the end of the day it is an individual sport so we all have to focus on getting ourselves to the championship and running against everyone that takes that line. I have no doubt that there will be a few Australians on that line in the final.”
For more information on the competition plans of Australian athletes this coming weekend, and throughout June, please follow this link.
To view and download results from the IAAF Diamond League in Oslo (NOR), please click here.