It has been a meet record breaking day at the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships, with history rewritten in six events on day four at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre.
Launching proceedings was Alla Parnov (WA), who soared 3.51m in the girl’s under 14 pole vault to win gold and claim the mark held by her sister, the London 2012 Olympian Liz Parnov on her second attempt.
Parnov entered the competition at 3.10m and made light work of her opening height before first attempt clearances at 3.25m and 3.35m. Raising the bar to 3.56m after success at her winning height, the 13-year-old was unable to progress, sharing the medal dais with her twin sister Natasha Parnov (WA, second, 3.00m) and Georgia Taylor (Vic, third, 2.85m).
Lauren Smith (SA) was next to make her mark, throwing 42.31m in the girl’s under 14 hammer throw to smash the previous championship record by more than two and a half metres.
Opening her four throw series with 40.81m, she continued with a 39.07m effort, a foul and her national title winning result to close proceedings. The silver medal was won by Breanna Griffiths (NSW, second, 38.40m), with Georgia Tarr (Vic, third, 33.15m) claiming bronze.
Action then moved to the track, with Lily Pree (WA, 28.13) quicker than ever before in the girl’s under 15 200m, before Carley Thomas (NSW) and Cara Jardine (Qld) both stopped the clock quicker than the previous meet record in the final of the girl’s under 18 800m.
Stopping the clock in 2:05.70 and 2:06.29 respectively, both performances were qualifiers for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau (BAH) later this year.
Equally impressive in the girl’s under 20 200m were Riley Day (Qld) and Ella Connolly (Qld), with the fast-paced duo both eclipsing the previous mark of Jana Pittman.
Day stopped the clock in 23.26 (w: +0.5) to ensure her sprint double in the 100m and 200m, as Connolly won silver in 23.66 to sit alongside the gold medal she won in the longer 400m earlier in the program.
“I’m incredibly happy with that. It was just great to run against the other girls. My previous PB was 23.51 or something so I didn’t really expect that,” Day said.
“If faster times come, they come. If the qualifier for London comes, it comes. I’m not really thinking about it at the moment. I’m young and there is plenty of time for me to worry about that.
Connolly returns home today, with the 16-year-old delighted by her results at the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships.
“I’m pumped about that run. My best friend is out there, Riley Day, and to see her running really well too is just awesome. It’s great to be able to experience that with her,” Connolly said.
“And I was absolutely stoked with my 400m. There is obviously a lot of talented girls in my age group with three of them having Commonwealth Youth Games qualifiers so I was so glad to take the win,” Connolly said.
“My coach, Gary Paterson, and I like to focus on one thing at a time and here is was the Bahamas and the under 18 team. I had to win and run a qualifier to put myself in the best position. The game plan we came up with together worked.”
Connolly is the younger sister of high jumper, Josh Connolly, and she now hopes to follow him into a green and gold uniform after his previous starts at the IAAF World Youth Championships and IAAF World Under 20 Championships.
“I’ve watched my brother go away to compete for Australia twice and to possibly have the chance to do the same would be incredible. He’s someone I have always looked to in athletics and to follow in his footsteps would a dream come true,” Connolly said.
Not to be outdone in the boy’s race was Yadin Ngeng (NSW). Joining Day and Connolly on the qualifiers list for Nassau 2017, the 16-year-old ran a personal best of 21.15m to stake his claim for nomination to compete with the Australian team at the Commonwealth Youth Games.
The long list of meet records was rounded out by Montanna McAvoy (Qld) in the girl’s under 18 3000m.
Taking line honours in 9:14.67, McAvoy was dominant from the outset, with her performance improving her personal best and staking her claim for nomination to compete at the Commonwealth Youth Games.
The silver, Katrina Robinson (Qld, 9:19.16), and bronze medallist, Melany Smart (WA, 9:22.07), also ran faster than the previous meet record.
Not to be outdone in junior para-athletics events were Jack Lobley (NSW) and Rosemary Boyland (NSW), with both qualifying for the World Junior Para-Athletics Championships in the shot put.
Competing in the boy’s under 20 events, Lobley, who has cerebral palsy, threw 11.02m to win gold, while Boyland, who is intellectually disabled, hit 10.79m to win the girl’s event.
The 2017 Australian Athletics Championships welcome open athletes for the first time tomorrow, with Olympic decathlete Cedric Dubler (Qld) among the starters.