Sinead Diver (Vic), a 38-year-old mother-of-two, will make her debut for the Australian Flame at this year’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing (CHN).
One of three women named to compete in the marathon, the Athletics Victoria XCR (cross-country) champion will be joined on the start line for arguably the toughest of all athletics pursuits, the marathon, by Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games representatives Sarah Klein (Vic) and Melanie Panayiotou (Qld).
“I am so unbelievably excited and proud to represent Australia at the World Champs. A few years ago this is something I wouldn’t even have dreamed about so it’s all very surreal at the moment,” Diver said.
“My family are absolutely ecstatic about the news and they are so proud of me. The boys are a bit young to fully comprehend what’s going on but they’re loving all the excitement. Without the support of my husband and sister, juggling the demands of work, running and family would be so much harder so this is in many ways a team effort. We are hopeful that all the family can be in Beijing and enjoy the experience firsthand.”
Diver has only committed to her running in recent years, rapidly rising through the ranks under coach Tim Crosbie to win the silver medal at the Australian Marathon Championships and set a personal best of 1:14:25 in the half marathon on the Gold Coast (Qld) last year.
“Running has only become a big part of my life in the last six years or so. It’s been a whirlwind journey and I’ve been very fortunate to have such amazing guidance and support to help me get to this level of competition in a relatively short space of time. Like many mature women, I entered the sport just to keep fit so it proves how accessible running is to the general population and the fact that not being a junior champion doesn’t mean you can’t one day go on to compete at the highest level,” Diver said.
“Rio is definitely the next goal after Beijing. The competition just to make the Australian Olympic Team will be fierce, so I’m hopeful the Beijing experience will help me gain knowledge of the international stage and understand not only what it takes to make a team, but then perform at the highest possible level.”
Coached by Dick Telford, Panayiotou last month ran a personal best of 2:34.35 to place 5th in a marathon held in Rotterdam (NED). This performance follows her 8th place on Australian Flame debut at the Commonwealth Games last year and a bronze medal at the Melbourne Marathon the year previous.
Klein ran quicker than she ever has before, 1:16:02, to place third in the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon last weekend. Her marathon career best of 2:35:21 was set in Glasgow (SCO) last year, with her trophy cabinet also boasting success across 5000m at the Victorian State Championships in 2013 and a gold medal in the ACT 10km Road Running Championships last year.
Ben St Lawrence (NSW) has also been selected today, with the two-time Commonwealth Games finalist to start in the men’s 10,000m after he bettered the IAAF World Championships qualifying mark with a time of 27:44.24 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Stanford (USA) last month.
A six-time national champion, St Lawrence is the Australian record holder at 10,000m, with his start in Beijing (CHN) delivering a third consecutive appearance with the Australian Flame at the IAAF World Championships.
The 2015 IAAF World Championships, the 15th instalment of the event, will be held in Beijing (CHN) on 22-30 August 2015. It will mark the return of international athletics to the Bird’s Nest for the first time since the 2008 Olympic Games.
The Australian Flame team at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow (RUS) was 46-strong, and won three medals (two silver, one bronze). Two years earlier at Daegu 2011, the squad placed 8th on the medal table with one gold (Sally Pearson, 100m hurdles), one silver (Mitchell Watt, long jump) and one bronze (Jared Tallent, 50km walk).
Athletics Australia will prepare for Beijing 2015 at a team camp in Wakayama (JPN), with the first contingent of athletes and team staff to arrive in the host city on 19 August 2015.
For more information on the IAAF World Championships, please click here.
IAAF World Championships
22-30 August 2015
800m: Jeff Riseley (Vic), Alex Rowe (Vic)
10,000m: Ben St Lawrence (NSW)
110m hurdles: Nicholas Hough (NSW)
High jump: Joel Baden (Vic), Brandon Starc (NSW)
Discus throw: Julian Wruck (Qld)
Javelin: Hamish Peacock (Tas)
20km walk: Dane Bird-Smith (Qld), Jared Tallent (Vic)
50km walk: Chris Erickson (Vic), Jared Tallent (Vic)
100m: Melissa Breen (ACT)
200m: Ella Nelson (NSW)
5000m: Eloise Wellings (NSW)*
100m hurdles: Michelle Jenneke (NSW), Sally Pearson (Qld)
400m hurdles: Lauren Wells (ACT)
3000m steeplechase: Madeline Heiner (NSW), Victoria Mitchell (NSW)
High jump: Eleanor Patterson (Vic)
Pole vault: Alana Boyd (Qld), Nina Kennedy (WA)
Long jump: Brooke Stratton (Vic)
Discus throw: Dani Samuels (NSW)
Javelin: Kim Mickle (WA), Kathryn Mitchell (Vic), Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT)
Marathon: Sinead Diver (Vic), Melanie Panayiotou (Qld), Sarah Klein (Vic)