24 April 2017
Aussies medal at the World Relays
Australia enjoyed a very successful IAAF world relays, held in the Bahamas over the weekend. There were very promising performances by the men’s 4x100m and women’s 4x400m relays, while the women;’s 4x800m relay team grabbed a medal.
The top Australian performance was achieved by the women’s 4x400m relay which included three NSW athletes, Anneliese Rubie (SYU), Ella Nelson (SYU) and Olivia Tauro (UTN).
In the heats, Morgan Mitchell led off with a 52.25 split, leading the race at the change. Anneliese Rubie, ran 52.38 on the second leg and passed over to friend and occasions training partner Ella Nelson. The 200m specialist, was making her debut for Australia over the one lap, and she acquitted herself well, clocking 52.72, maintaining the teams second plosition. NSW’s Olivia Tauro brought the team home in 52.96 as Australia placed second in 3:30.31 and automatically qualifying for the final.
After 24 hours rest, the team was back on the track, starting from lane eight. Mitchell again led off in a tremendous 51.71. It was a very quick leg and compared favourability with her flying anchor legs of 50.97 and 50.52 in Rio. It is internationally recognised the different between a flying leg and the first, run from the blocks, is 0.7 seconds. On the second leg again, Rubie, ran even quicker, clocking 52.26. Caitlin Sargent-Jones was brought into the team and ran 52.60. The team was impressively anchored by Olivia Tauro in 52.23 – the second fastest time on her leg. The team placed fifth in a tremendous time of 3:28.80.
In the men’s 4x100m, the team of Trae Williams, Tom Gamble, Alex Hartmann and Nick Andrews, started their campaign very well, clocking 39.09, the fastest Australian time for nearly four years. However, they only just snuck into the final, by 0.02 seconds, knocking out Germany. In the final they placed an amazing fourth but would be disappointed in the sluggish time of 39.73. There were some big name causalities; Jamaica in the heats, and Canada, GBR and Holland in the final.
In the women’s 4x800m, Australia continued its record of success in this event, winning bronze in a time of 8:21.08. National champion, Lora Storey (UTN) was magnificent clocking 2:02.07, handing over in second place. Tasmanian Abbey de la Montte was tremendous clocking 2:02.67 and taking Australia into the lead by over a second. Olympian Zoe Buckman and Hills athlete Heidi See brought Australia home for the bronze.
An all-NSW team competed in the newish 4x400m mixed relay. The team was full of 800m athletes, all capable of a very decent 400m. Mason Cohen (UTN) led off with 48.41, followed by Alicia Keir (ILL) 54.29, then Ella Nelson, ran quicker than her 4x400m women’s heat this time going an impressive 52.36, then Josh Ralph (SYU) closed with 48.08. He had 70 minutes earlier led off the 4x800m clocking 1:48 – the fastest split by the team. The team placed fifth in a time of 3:23.14.
The men’s 4x800m team placed fourth, a little over a second from a medal in a time of 7:20.10. Josh Ralph ran a great lead off leg clocking 1:48.31, putting Australian in third. Jordan Williamsz was second (1:50.13), followed by NSW’s James Gurr (UTN, 1:51.15). National champion, Luke Matthews, anchored the team in 1:50.51.
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Aths NSW
Image: AUS women’s 4x800m relay team (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)