The international athletics season is upon us, with Australia’s eight-strong team for the IAAF World Indoor Championships today arriving in the host city of Portland (USA) before competitions commences on 17 March 2016.
The first global event in this most exciting Olympic year, the four days of competition will welcome athletes from no fewer than 148 nations, battling it out for the coveted title of world indoor champion ahead of Rio 2016 this August.
The green and gold squad is impressive, boasting national record holders Alana Boyd (pole vault) and Brooke Stratton (long jump), Beijing 2015 silver medallist Fabrice Lapierre (long jump) and the Olympic qualified Collis Birmingham (3000m), Michelle Jenneke (60m hurdles), Brett Robinson (3000m), Melissa Duncan (1500m) and Chelsea Jaensch (long jump).
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION TIMES:
|Local Time (GMT -7)||AEDT Time (GMT +11)||Event||Athlete|
|17.03.2016, 7:05pm||18.03.2016, 1:05pm||Pole Vault||Alana Boyd|
|18.03.2016, 12:55pm||19.03.2016, 6:55am||3000m (heats)||Collis Birmingham Brett Robinson|
|18.03.2016, 1:25pm||19.03.2016, 7:25am||1500m (heats)||Melissa Duncan|
|18.03.2016, 5:35pm||19.03.2016, 11:35am||60m hurdles (heats)||Michelle Jenneke|
|18.03.2016, 8:30pm||19.03.2016, 2:30pm||60m hurdles (final)||Michelle Jenneke|
|18.03.2016, 6:55pm||19.03.2016, 12;55pm||Long Jump||Brooke Stratton
|19.03.2016, 7:18pm||20.03.2016, 1:18pm||1500m (final)||Melissa Duncan|
|20.03.2016, 1:05pm||21.03.2016, 7:05am||Long Jump||Fabrice Lapierre|
|20.03.2016, 1:10pm||21.03.2016, 7:10am||3000m (final)||Collis Birmingham
Boyd soared to a new Australian pole vault record of 4.77m to come into contention for Portland 2016, before continuing her season with consistently impressive marks including 4.45m, 4.70m, 4.71m and 4.65m. She will compete at the world indoor championships for a second time after debuting in Istanbul (TUR) in 2012.
Stratton eclipsed the national record of Bronwyn Thompson at the Perth Track Classic this past weekend, with her new career best of 7.05m (w: +2.0) sitting alongside a 2016 resume that also details victory at the ACT Athletics Championships, the Canberra Track Classic and the Victorian Athletics Championships.
Lapierre has a history of success at indoor championships, winning gold at Doha 2010 with a leap of 8.17m. He also competed at Sopot 2014. Set to return to Sydney (NSW) for the Australian Athletics Championships next week, the national champion has a medal at Rio 2016 in his sights after winning silver at the IAAF World Championships last year.
Birmingham placed 10th in the 2012 world indoor 3000m final in a time of 7:57.55, while the selection of Jenneke marks her first appearance at an indoor event. She progressed to the penultimate round in the 100m hurdles at the IAAF World Championships last year.
Both Robinson and Duncan qualified at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in February. Robinson clocked 7:44.29 to place second in the 3000m to ensure his selection, while Duncan ran 4:06.93 in the 1500m to come into contention.
Rounding out the newly selected athletes, Jaensch has benefited from the IAAF Roll Down Process. Soaring a new personal best of 6.70m in the women’s long jump at the Canberra Track Classic to secure her first Olympic Games standard, the performance has also resulted in her addition to the field for Portland 2016.
Competing in exhibition masters events, Marie Kay and Deborah Drennan have also been extended the opportunity to take to the track in the women’s 800m for athletes aged over 55.