30 June 2019
Next levels for Klein and Winkcup at Oceania Championships
With Doha World Championships and Tokyo Olympic Games in the focus, many NSW were in brilliant firm at the Oceania Championships in Townsville. There were also two breakthrough performances by Georgia Winkcup and Sara Klein (400m hurdles).
The Athletics Australia criteria allows winners in Townsville to be selected for the Doha World Championships even if they are outside the qualifying standard. The meet also earned athletes’ high points towards the Tokyo Olympics.
With the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) recently introducing a new global ranking system for athletes to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, the Oceania Championships attracted a high level of points in the new system which is based on a combination of result and place depending on the level of the competition.
NSW athletes dominate one of the strongest events in Australia - the women’s 400m hurdles, and in Townsville we saw one of them make progression. Sara Klein has had a strong year commencing with a PB of 57.99. A PB of 56.07 in the final was her fourth revision of her best in taking the win over a strong field. Unfortunately, she just missed the Doha World Championships standard of 56.00. Initially it was thought she had the standard when the clock displayed 55.76.
Klein defeated the Doha bound Sarah Carli who ran 56.72, while the third NSW athlete was Gen Cowie in fifth in 58.50. Klein later explained how she had run the first half of the race on her weaker leg.
Paige Campbell had a great carnival, winning the 3000m steeplechase and placing second in the 5000m. She started her carnival finishing runner up to Melissa Duncan in 15:46.25.
“It was solid. Not quite as fast as I was hoping for, but I am pleased. It was a good, solid run,” said Paige.
“I felt like my form was good tonight, just my time wasn’t there - it wasn’t the right night. I will just move my focus to the steeple now in two days and have a good go at that.”
Rested the national steeplechase champion was ready to go. After two laps she started to move away from the pack, but surprisingly she was not able to shake UNSW’s Georgia Winkcup. The pace picked up but still Winkcup was in touch and over the last lap she narrowed the gap and in a sprint to the Winkcup fell just 0.11 seconds short of passing Campbell who won in 9:46.40, a fraction outside her PB set in March.
“Yes it was good, really good,” said Campbell. “I thought my hurdling was really good today.”
It has set her up a launching pad into Europe which includes the World University Games.
“I can really build on that.”
Campbell can probably thank Winkcup for pushing her to the quick time.
“The 5000m took a little bit out of me, but kudos to Georgia it was an amazing run.”
Georgia Winkcup’s breakthrough was extraordinary as her time of 9:46.51 was a 29.63 second PB and lifted her from 24th to 8th Australian all-time.
“I am really excited,” said Winkcup.
“It has been awhile since I have run a PB so I am so happy to have a good race and feel happy at the end. We have had a really good training environment since nationals, and we have been doing a lot of race focused training which has shown to work really well.”
In the men’s high hurdles, Nick Hough overcame a strong challenge from Nick Andrews, who led fractionally mid-race, but Nick was back on equal terms by hurdle nine. Andrews knocked hurdles nine and ten, slowing his momentum, allowing Hough to powered to the line and eventually win comfortably in 13.77 with Andrews running 13.84. Making it a NSW trifecta, in third was Jacob McCorry (14.13) who has along with Andrews this summer broken through with a series of sub 14 second times.
Joshua Ralph and Mason Cohen went 1-2 in the 800m. In a tatical race Ralph clocked 1:49.34 and Cohen 1:49.77.
“It wasn’t very quick one but today was all about the win and getting the points,” said Ralph. “I am happy with that. It is good to make the trip worthwhile. Back to Europe on Saturday and a few weeks of training in preparation for more races in late July.”
Cohen was also pleased with his performance.
“It surprisingly felt really good, especially with the break in between nationals. I haven’t really done it before. It was my first time representing Australia individually which felt really good. I was really happy with how I kicked home.”
For Cohen it was also a good preparation for his next competition in July in Naples.
“I have World Uni’s coming up which will be an amazing experience. I think this week has been really good practice for the heats and semi’s over there.”
Sydney hammer thrower Costa Kousparis recorded his second PB of the year to win Oceania Championships, throwing 66.20m in the second round. Ahead of the Pacific Games next month, Alex Hulley won silver in the hammer throw with a distance of 65.81m.
National 400m champions Steven Solomon and Bendere Oboya were comfortable winners in the their favoured events with times of 52.76 and 46.12 respectively.
Second place in the women’s javelin was two-time NCAA champion Mackenzie Little, competing for the first time in Australia for over five years. She threw 57.74m and will seriously challenge the Doha World Championship standard which is about a metre above her PB.
“It is great to be back in Australia, I just got back from the States. I actually felt ok, it just wasn’t quite the distances for me. I am getting back in the groove and working with the right people. I am particularly excited about the World Uni’s coming up.”
Although she didn’t compete for five years in Australia, she made regular trips home.
“I spent the summer and winter breaks with my family which was nice, and I do feel like I have been out of the athletics circle for a while, but it’s really exciting to be back.”
After two gruelling days of competition in the decathlon events, Kyle Cranston tallied his fourth career score over 7700 points, with a total of 7702 in Townsville in a very high quality competition where he placed third. After a solid day one, he finished the event with four terrific performances on the second day. He hit 45.61m in the discus, vaulted 4.70m, launched a PB javelin throw of 64.41m and closed with a 4:35.44 1500m.
Rorey Hunter ran a good tactical race to finish second to Matt Ramsden in the 1500m. Rorey, a two-time national 1500m bronze medallists, found Ramsden’s recent form where he ran 3:35.20, too tough to overcome. In Townsville Ramsden clocked 3:44.41 and Rorey 3:44.67.
Returning from Europe for the competition, Brandon Starc cleared 2.22m in the high jump but was defeated by some extraordinary jumping from Kiwi Hamish Kerr who cleared 2.30m and came very close to 2.33m.
Heptathlete Alysha Burnett lost a very close battle in the high jump on countback to NZL’s Josephine Reeves with both clearing 1.86m.
After a battle with glandular fever in 2018, Olympian Beki Smith was fourth in the 10,000m walk clocking 48:18.95.
World champion, James Turner, won the men’s para 400m in 53.24 seconds a world record.
Julie Charlton won the para javelin with a two metres PB registering a distance of 12.06m. In the para long jump Lleyton Lloyd placed second with a distance of 5.66m, ahead of another NSW athlete Blake Carr with 5.20m. Summer Giddings won the open para long jump with a mark of 2.99m. T11 (visually impaired) athlete Karlee Symonds, guided by Matt Rawlings, placed third in the para 100m in 15.46 seconds.
David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW
Image: Paige Campbell (courtesy of David Tarbotton)