Morgan Mitchell (Vic) will start at the Australian Athletics Championships unbeaten in 2016, after taking line honours once again in a hotly contested women’s 400m in 52.39 at the Queensland Track Classic.
Boasting an Australian athletics season resume that also includes victories at the Hunter Track Classic, the Athletics ACT and Athletics Victoria State Championships and the IAAF Melbourne World Challenge, Mitchell remains confident of continued improvement as she looks to win the national crown in two weeks’ time to guarantee her automatic nomination for selection to the Australian Olympic Team.
“The more I win, the more confident I become. You learn from every race, whether it be a win or a loss, because you never know what can happen the week after this one. I haven’t really had time goals this season, to get the qualifier done was great and to run sub-52 was even better,” Mitchell said.
“It’s still very early in the season, there’s a long way to go to Rio. I don’t know what the plan after the Nationals is. First I have to win there, get my spot on the team, and we can reassess where to from there.”
The women’s 400m has been fierce this Australian Athletics Tour, with Mitchell joined on the Rio 2016 qualified list by reigning national champion Anneliese Rubie (NSW).
Rubie crossed second tonight in a time of 53.28, with Caitlin Jones (nee Sargent, Qld) clocking a season best time of 53.48 for third to become a realistic contender at the Australian Athletics Championships.
In the men’s race, Luke Stevens (Vic) clocked 46.32 to deliver his third win this Australian Athletics Tour after taking line honours at the Briggs Athletics Classic in Hobart (Tas) and the Canberra Track Classic.
In the men’s sprints, the Rio 2016 qualified Alex Hartmann (Qld) reigned supreme in both the men’s 100m and 200m.
Hartmann’s impressive night began with a personal best 10.29 (w: +1.2) to edge out a classy field that included Joseph Millar (NZL, second, 10.33) and Aaron Stubbs (Qld, third, 10.33) in the men’s 100m. He returned to the track later in the evening to run a convincing bend in the 200m alongside Banuve Tabakaucoro (FIJ, 4th, 21.72), before putting his foot down to take out the longer sprint in 20.87 (w: -1.5) from Millar (NZL, 21.34) and Shota Hara (JPN, third, 21.63).
“The wind on the bend for the 200m was rough, but you have to go with the conditions. When I saw the 21 second time come up on the board I was a bit shocked because it felt quicker, so to see it fall to 20.87 is great,” Hartmann said.
“The PB earlier in the night was great. It was good to back up from the 100m so well. Nationals could deliver a surprise. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I want to drop something quick and feel like I’m in the shape to do it.”