Eight-time Australian champion Lauren Wells (ACT) has her sights set on a start in the women’s 400m hurdles final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing (CHN).
A consistent starter in at least the penultimate round at every major event since the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the 26-year-old has aspirations for a new personal best and a result that sets her up for a strong approach to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“Making the 400m final this year is the goal, but I know that it will be incredibly tough. I want to run under 55 seconds this year and put together my best races in Beijing. I have never been able to run faster in the second round at a major and I know that if I can do that I will be in a great position to make the top-eight,” Wells said.
For Wells, the road to Beijing 2015 gets underway at Round 10 of the IAAF Diamond League in Lausanne (SUI) tomorrow, where she will be joined by a five-strong contingent of green and gold starters including Dani Samuels (NSW, discus), Genevieve LaCaze (Qld, 3000m steeplechase), Hamish Peacock (Tas, javelin) and Selma Kajan (NSW, 800m).
“Initially I was going to remain in Canberra and work with my coach Matt (Beckenham) locally but after racing in Japan I wanted to have some high quality races before I got the world titles. The only way this was going to happen was if I went to Europe first and then meet up with everyone in Japan for the camp. It’s going to be the best possible preparation,” Wells added.
“Since the Nationals, we have changed my track sessions in terms of volume and the way they are structured. I run such a technical event but you need lactic tolerance too so I have been doing a lot of sessions with more volume in them and then hurdling under fatigue.
The aim of this training block was to build up my aerobic and lactic levels as well as my flat speed on the track, whilst getting as strong as I could in the gym without adding too much bulk. Now that we are less than eight weeks away, I need to maintain those levels that I created, in order to give myself the best chance of running fast.”
Australia’s 4x400m relay squad is also on track for a start at the IAAF World Championships, ranked among the top-16 nations globally at the time of writing. Earlier this year at the IAAF World Relays, the team earned their nomination to compete at Rio 2016 and Wells is excited about the prospect that the flat event presents in the build to the Olympic Games.
“I am always excited about potentially being part of a relay team. The four-by-four are a great group of girls and everybody has worked hard to build some team culture over the last couple of years. I think that the women’s 400m next year is going to be one of the strongest events in the country. Everyone will be doing everything they can to run strongly and get themselves in the relay squad for the Olympics,” Wells said.
Competition in Lausanne (SUI) is followed by a busy fortnight of athletics both in Australia and abroad, with Eleanor Patterson (Vic) and Joel Baden (Vic) among starters in the high jump at the Downunder Meet on the Gold Coast (Qld), while Alana Boyd (Qld, pole vault), Brett Robinson (Vic, 3000m) and Collis Birmingham (Vic, 3000m) continue their European campaigns in Luzern (SUI).
The IAAF Diamond League then returns in Monaco (MON), with Dani Samuels (NSW) and Genevieve LaCaze (Vic) to start in the women’s discus throw and 3000m steeplechase respectively.