5 March 2019
PREVIEW: 122nd NSW Open Track and Field Championships
The 122nd NSW Track and Field Championships are shaping up to be one of the best for years. Post the Commonwealth Games, there is a strong lineup across many events. David Tarbotton highlights some of the events and competing athletes.
With the junior nationals a month away, the events are also bolstered by many of the under-20s. But a note of caution in reading this preview – some athletes have entered for events they may not necessarily compete in, making a late decision on their competition program.
Athletes are pushing towards qualifiers for the national championships and to register performances to impress selectors for a host of international championships in 2019, including IAAF World Championships, World Para-Athletics Championships, World University Games, World Relays, World Junior Para-Athletics Championships, Global Games and Oceania Championships.
A new feature will be three consecutive evening sessions and the Friday night includes an enormous line-up of heats in the women’s 100m, 400m, 800m, 1500m and men’s 100m, 400m, 800m and 1500m.
A few feature events and athletes follow:
FRIDAY – 6.00pm women high jump
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Nicola McDermott (SYU) head a high qualify field including Commonwealth Games team mate Alysha Burnett (CHE) who is looking to match McDermott’s recent 1.94m clearance which was a world championships qualifier and elevated her to number six in Australian history. Burnett has cleared 1.91m this year, in the middle of a heptathlon, and made some good attempts at 1.94m. They will be joined by teenagers Rosie Tozer (WOL), 1.82m last week and Emily Whelan (ADM) PB 1.83m. One to watch is Camden’s Laura Perich who leapt 1.80m at the Commonwealth trials.
SATURDAY – 6.40pm women Triple Jump
Like the other women’s horizontal jump, this event will be intriguing. Tay-Leiha Clark (ILL) is the only 13 metres triple jumper in the field, but will have to be at her best to secure a win here. Making solid progress this summer has been Desleigh Owusu (CBT) who has extended her PB from 12.29m to 12.98m and probably starts favourite. One to watch is Stevie Donougher (SYU) who leapt a PB of 12.47 last month and has had long windy leaps of 12.53m and 12.75m. Expected to be in the mix for a podium are Erin Guy (TRI), Alex Petersen (SYU) and Charlotte McGill (RBH).
SATURDAY – 7.30pm women 400m
If all the elite athletes start in this race it will be a special race. Bella O’Grady (UTN) remains the fastest domestically with her 52.38 in December. Commonwealth Games finalist Anneliese Rubie (SYU) is the form athlete over 200m and 400m and should go sub-52 in good conditions. Commonwealth Games team mate, Bendere Oboya (CBT), has run three consecutive 53s all in windy conditions. Jessica Thornton (ILL) made her season debut last week with 54.73. The one to watch is Carley Thomas (UTN) who has a PB of 53.95 and has run 55 seconds in her only 400m this summer, but her relay leg at the World U20 Championships was sub-52 seconds.
SUNDAY – 6.00pm women Long Jump
This event is intriguing as it has a large group of six metre jumpers who are ready to step up to the next level.
Tay-Leiha Clark (ILL) has the longest PB of 6.38m and has been consistently in the 6.20s this summer and will start favourite. Heptathlete Alysha Burnett (CHE) has leapt 6.34m, but has been more regularly just over six metres this summer. Returning from injury Samantha Dale (CHE) will be looking to return to her 6.03m form from last summer. Katie Gunn (MIN), just 16, joined the six metre club last week at the juniors, leaping 6.09m. Sachi Kayama (TRI) has been in good form this summer with a best of 6.17m, just short of her PB 6.25m.
Victorian visitor Liz Heading has been one of the form jumpers in Australian this summer and set a PB of 6.32m at the ACT Championships. Another visitor, Jess Penny from Canberra will be looking to recapture her 6.60m form from 2016. Charlotte McGill (RBH) with a PB of 5.95m, is one to watch.
SUNDAY – 6.15pm men 110m hurdles
In the last few weeks two NSW athletes Jacob McCorry (CHE) and Nick Andrews (CHE) joined the sub-14 club. They race Commonwealth Games medallist, Nick Hough (SYU) coming back from injury. Japanese visitors Hidetoshi Nakata (14.13) and Ryota Fujii (13.87) will provide nice competition for the locals.
SUNDAY – 6.30pm women Para Ambulant 200m
We have an all-star lineup of athletes with international experience. Paralympian Tamsin Colley (HIL) competes in the event she contested at the Rio Games. Canberra-based, Wagga-raised sprinter, Carly Salmon (KOO) has been on the national team since 2013. She has lined up in three World Para Athletics Championships and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The 200m is the event she has performed at best internationally, with a bronze at the world championships. Sprinter/long jumper, Kailyn Joseph (CHE), 16, has represented Australian twice, at the inaugural 2017 World Junior Para-Athletics Championships and at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Kailyn has been bravely battling back from injury post the Games.
Adding to the line-up is another junior international Alissa Jordaan (UTN), 15, who won silver in the 200m at the 2017 World Junior Para-Athletics Championships, along with silver in the 100m and gold in the long jump.
Another multi-international is Stephanie Schweitzer (HIL) who competed at the London Paralympics and two World Para-Athletics Championships. Initially a long jumper she has transitioned into a long sprinter and has also represented Australia at the Global Games, which is one of her current targets, as the next edition will be held in Brisbane in 2019.
SUNDAY – 7.10pm women 400m hurdles
This event is at record levels in NSW with three athletes under mid-57 seconds. In the race we have three of the top-5 in NSW history, missing are just 2000 Olympians Jana Pittman and Stephanie Price. They are also top-20 in Australian history. Sarah Carli’s (KEJ) breakthrough performance of 55.67 in Canberra secured her a world championships qualifier and a ranking of number seven in Australian history. Training partners Sara Klein (ASW) and Genevieve Cowie (SYU) have been making good progression over the last couple of years and last month ran PBs of 57.06 and 57.18 respectively. For Gen it was a World University Games Qualifier. Let’s hope they can push each other to more PBs in this race.
SUNDAY – 7.35pm men 800m
This will be an enthralling battle between the form runner domestically in Australia Jye Perrott (UTN) and Commonwealth Games representative Josh Ralph (SYU). Perrott was the first Aussie at the ACT Champs and Sydney Track Classic and has a win over national 800m record holder Jo Deng in the Hunter 600m. Ralph who didn’t make the start line for the Sydney Track Classic, compiled one of his best years in 2018 competing at the Commonwealth Games and recording six sub-1:47 times. Perrott’s training partner Mason Cohen (UTN) is the danger and is just one race away from a PB (800m 1:47.41), after lifetime bests over 400m and 600m this year. One to watch is Robert Lister (ILL) as he searches for his 2018 nationals form where he placed eighth in 1:47.23.
There are dozens of others to watch including:
[SAT 5.30pm] Commonwealth Games triple jump representative Emmanuel Fakiye (UTN) is locked in a close national battle with a group of athletes where just centimetres separate them. But in NSW he is the best and should win comfortably here.
[SAT 5.30pm] A four-time international and Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Erin Cleaver (MQH) is in her pet event here, the para-athletics long jump.
[SAT 6.05pm] Multiple national champion Allanah Pitcher (MIN), 15, is the form athlete in the open women’s 5000m walk.
[SAT 7.50pm] Cam Crombie (ACT) in the para-Athletics javelin. Cam is a world and Commonwealth gold medallist in the shot.
[SAT 8.28pm] Anas Abu-Ganaba (CBT) will be looking to defend his 100m NSW crown and repeat his 2018 performance where he ran a significant PB time of 10.28.
[SAT 9.05pm] Carley Thomas (UTN), if she selects to run this event (800m) over the 400m, she will be the over whelming favourite for this title.
[SUN 3.30pm] Pole Vaulter Lizzy Baral (ASW) is in the form of her life and making rapid progress towards the NSW record of 4.00 metres.
[SUN 5.20pm] Two weeks ago on this track, Victorian Ben Buckingham sliced 14 seconds from his 3000m steeplechase PB, clocking 8:40.01. Can he continue that progress against Sydney Uni’s James Nipperess.
[SUN 5.35pm] After her sensational running in the 3000m, 5000m, 10,000m and cross country this summer, Paige Campbell (SYU), returns to the event she narrowly missed Commonwealth Games selection in - the 3000m steeplechase.
[SUN 6.00pm] Commonwealth Games hammer throw silver medallists Alex Hulley (HIL) is approaching the 70m barrier.
[SUN 6.00pm] Dual Commonwealth Games 100m hurdles finalists Michelle Jenneke (SYU) will be unstoppable here in defending her title.
[SUN 7.00pm] Bryce Collins (UNS) and Matthew Fisher (SYU) should battle out the local honours in the 400m hurdles, but face quality competition from the visiting Japanese with impressive times of: Kakeru Inoue PB 49.94, Takafumi Iwasaki PB 50.35 and Yusuke Shirao PB 50.36.
[SUN 7.30pm] He remains the fastest domestically this year, but a minor set back slowed the progress after 400m athlete Tyler Gunn (MIN) who ran 46.09 in late January. He will have lots of competition with a heap of quick Japanese including: Takamasa Kitagawa PB 45.48 and Manato Sasaki PB 46.85.
What: 122nd NSW Track and Field Championships
Where: Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush
When: Friday to Sunday 8 to 10 March 2019
Time: Friday 6:00pm to 9:00pm; Saturday 5.30pm to 9.10pm; Sunday 3:30pm to 7.40pm
Entry: Spectator entry is per day $7 adults and $4 for U18.
There will be no livestream.
More Information on entries, timetable, and details here.
David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW
Image: Emmanuel Fakiye (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)