30 July 2017
NSW London contingent now 22 athletes
There was great late news for another five NSW athletes who were added to the Australian team for the 2017 IAAF World Championships, through the ‘roll-down process. The additions brought the number of NSW athletes up to 22.
Added to the team were: distance runners Heidi See, Victoria Mitchell and Lora Storey, along with high jumper Nicola McDermott and hurdler Michelle Jenneke.
The distance trio of See, Mitchell and Storey were national champions, but remained just outside the qualifying marks. Jenneke had missed the standard by just 0.01 seconds, so was in a good-position to receive a roll-down offer. The surprise was high jumper Nicola McDermott, who seemingly came from nowhere to be selected. She was preparing for the World University Games, in late August, but was in great form this month. At the nationals in March she placed fourth with a height of 1.83m – the same height as the winner. Starting her preparation for the World University Games, she leapt a PB 1.89m in Mingara on July 9, then a week later she went higher – 1.90m – in Brisbane. The automatic standard for London was 1.94m but that only filled 19 places of the 32 allocated for this event. Therefore, McDermott received the late call for a place.
Note the strong representation by Sydney University with eight athletes on the team, and Randwick Botany with three.
How does the roll-down process work? In 2015 the IAAF changed the qualifying standards for the world championships and this procedure is also adopted for the Olympics. At the heart of it is the need to be reasonably able to predict the number of competitors who will compete at the Olympics primarily. Numbers had been increasing in the Games over a decade ago and it became a problem for organisers. Some sports are automatically capped, but in athletics numbers can vary depending on the relative strength and weakness of individual events at that time. So ahead of the need to cap number for Rio, the IAAF instituted new standards for the 2015 World Championships, generally higher, and then added through the roll-down procedure up to a set number for each event. A number of Australian’s were added for Beijing, but only a couple for Rio as the interest by qualified athletes was higher. For each games all qualifiers are automatic, up to three per nation, plus the defending champion, Diamond League champion and area champion (not used by Athletics Australia). Then the IAAF fill any vacancies up to a pre-determined and published number of athletes per event.
The final NSW line up for London is:
200m: Ella Nelson (SYU)
800m: Lora Storey (RBH)
5000m: Madeline Hills (KEJ), Eloise Wellings (SUT), Heidi See (HIL)
10000m: Madeline Hills, Eloise Wellings
3000m Steeplechase: Victoria Mitchell (AEA)
100m Hurdles: Michelle Jenneke (SYU)
High Jump: Nicola McDermott (SYU)
Discus Throw: Dani Stevens (WES)
20km walk: Beki Smith (NEP)
Marathon: Milly Clark (SYU)
4x400m Relay: Ella Nelson, Anneliese Rubie (SYU), Jess Thornton (ILL)
400m: Steven Solomon (RBH)
1500m: Ryan Gregson (KEJ)
5000m: Morgan McDonald (RBH)
110m hurdles: Nicholas Hough (SYU)
Long Jump: Fabrice Lapierre (WES)
Marathon: Jack Colreavy (SYU), Brad Milosevic (GIR)
4x100m Relay: Nick Andrews (CHE), Rohan Browning (SYU)
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: high jumper Nicola McDermott (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)