22 March 2017
PREVIEW: 120th NSW Open Track and Field Championships
The 120th NSW Track and Field Championships are set down for Homebush this weekend. Rich in history and prestige, they record the annual champion of NSW. This year’s three-day championships include a mix of Olympians, Paralympians, interstate and a few internationals. With a few weeks until the #SummerOfAths Meet in Canberra and the eight-day national championships, athletes are keen to record qualifying times for the various teams to enhance their selection prospects. Teams include: world championships, IPC world championships, World University Games and Commonwealth Youth.
This year the Sydney Classic will be held on Saturday night in conjunction with the meet.
A few feature events and athletes follow.
FRIDAY – 6.20pm. Women open Para-long jump
Three Paralympian’s line up in this high quality event. Silver medalist in Rio, Taylor Doyle (GIR) will battle Newcastle teenager Erin Cleaver (MQH) who was fifth in Rio. Strong improver, is Sutherland teenager Sarah Walsh (SUT) who was sixth in Rio. Expect a close and exciting battle.
FRIDAY – 8.05pm. Men open shot
This will be a battle between the two youngest in the field – both teenagers. Alex Kolesnikoff (TRI) and Central Coast’s Aiden Harvey (WET) are clearly the future of this event. The younger Kolesnikoff, 17, putt an outstanding 16.14m at the Hunter Track Classic. Strong hopes these two can continued their exciting teenage careers into the senior ranks in a few years.
SATURDAY – 4.00pm. Women 1500m
NSW’s best ever 1500m athlete, Jenny Blundell (SYU) will have just her third individual run since the Rio Olympics where she progressed to the semi-final. Holly Campbell (SYU) will be the major competition. Also in her first individual track race since the Rio Olympic marathon, Milly Clark (SYU) will grace the track aiming for a PB in the heats. The support cast is a host of talented teenager, including Catherine Miller (ASW), Jaylah Hancock-Cameron (NOW) and Amy Harding-Delooze (RBH).
SATURDAY – 6.10pm. Men Triple Jump
The two best NSW triple jumpers in recent history should provide a close battle. Ben Cox (TRI) leads Emmanuel Fakiye (UTN) on paper in 2017, but you just need to go back to December to witness Faikye in PB shape - but there is nothing between them.
Ben Cox – aged 23y – PB 15.77m (19/2/17)
Emmanuel Fakiye – 20y – PB 15.83m (17/12/16)/15.97windy
SATURDAY – 6.25pm. Women 100m hurdles
Even without NSW’s Gold Coast-based Liz Clay, winner of the recent Hunter Track Classis race, and of course Sally Pearson, this is worthy of a national final. The domestic battle will be between Australia’s number two and five all time, Michelle Jenneke (SYU) and WA’s Brianna Beahan. The later was unlucky to miss Rio qualification, falling just 0.03 second short. New Zealander Fiona Morrison, who ran 13.16 last year, could cause an upset here, while World University Games finalist Abbie Taddeo (ILL) will also be in the medal hunt. Don’t underestimate Bella O’Grady (UTN) to continue her all conquering season and also finish with a medal.
SATURDAY – 7.30pm. Women 800m
This will be an interesting battle, with no rabbit taking the athletes through the first 400 or 500m, it could be a slow tactical battle. All three of the most credentialed are from a 400m background and could fancy themselves in a sprint home. Lora Storey (RBH), who missed Rio qualification by just tenths of a second, had a great win in the Hunter and last week in Canberra. Quickest this summer is Melbourne-based Anneliese Rubie (SYU) who continues her much anticipated move from the 400m. She has slashed her 400m and 800m PBs this summer and now Alicia Keir (ILL) is a genuine hope for a national medal.
SUNDAY – 1.30pm. Men 400m hurdles
A terrific battle between reigning national champion, Leigh Bennett (MQH) and NSW’s best for nearly 20 years, Ian Dewhurst (SYU). Dewhurst had a great win last week in Canberra, clocking 50.75, to defeat Bennett by one second. Both will have their eye on the Commonwealth Games next year.
SUNDAY – 3.10pm. Women 100m Para-amb
Four Paralympians start here in a high quality race. London Paralympic representative and sprint specialist, Carly Salmon (KOO), competes against Rio competitors Tamsin Colley (RBH), Erin Cleaver (MQH) and Taylor Doyle (GIR).
SUNDAY – 4.15pm. Men 200m
If all entered in this event make the start line, this will be an enthralling battle. The three quickest in Australia this summer could be on the start line. Fly-in Queenslander Tom Gamble demolished the field last week in Canberra, running 20.61. In his season opener Josh Clarke (SYU) nailed 20.88 and teenager Rohan Browning (SYU) has run 20.96.
There are dozens of others to watch including: Dani Stevens (nee Samuels) who competes against GBR Olympian Jade Lally in the discus. Alex Hulley (HIL) steps into the senior ranks and should easily win the hammer throw. Another making that jump is javelin thrower, Rhys Stein (ASW). Nick Hough’s (SYU) 13.59 last week in Canberra indicates he is back in top form. Four-time Paralympin and one of Australia’s greatest wheelchair athletes, Angie Ballard (SYU) competes in events up to 800m. Australia’s finest junior race walker Tyler Jones (MIN) compete in the open 5000m. Angus Armstrong (SYU) will be aiming for, at minimum, a world university Games qualifier of 5.35m in the pole vault. Two-time national champion, Chelsea Lenarduzzi (IBS), is our leading hope for Commonwealth Games selection and will hoping to push her PB towards 16.00m.
What: 120th NSW Track and Field Championships
Where: Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush
When: Friday to Sunday 24 to 26 February 2017
Time: Friday 5:45pm to 10:00pm; Saturday 1.00pm to 9.00pm; Sunday 12:45pm to 5.00pm
Entry: Spectator entry is $7 adults, $4 U18 and U10 free
Social: follow Athletics NSW social media channels for information and the website for articles.
The Sydney Classic will feature live stream video content available via the Athletics NSW YouTube and Facebook pages
More Information on entries, timetable, and details click here.
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: Paralympic long jumper Sarah Walsh (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)