19 NSW athletes selected for Doha World championships
High jumper Brandon Starc heads a strong contingent of 19 NSW athletes who were today named as members of the 61 strong Australian team for the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships to be held in Doha from September 27.
The team size is equal to the largest ever sent to the World Championships – the same size as London in 2017.
Hopes are high Brandon Starc could finish on the podium in Doha after an outstanding 2018 season where he won the Commonwealth Games title and Diamond League final, along with equaling the Australian record with a 2.36m clearance.
“It is always a great honour to represent Australia and wear the Australian uniform,” said Starc. “I didn’t get the change two years ago in London as I didn’t qualify but I’m lucky enough to quality this season and get selected for this year’s team in Doha.”
Starc was ranked third in the world last year.
“I’m backing myself and I’m in a good position to medal, if not win it,” he said. “I’ve had a nice 6-7 week block of training before this European trip and now I’ve got a few good comps under my belt,” noted Starc about his two recent 2.30m clearances, including a second place at the Diamond league final.
There will be pressure on born and bred Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim who has been injured during the last year, but led the world in 2018.
There are a number of NSW athletes who would admit 12 months ago, they were long shots for selection. It is a feature of a number of rapidly improving NSW athletes over the last year, including Jessica Hull, Sara Carli, Sarah Klein and Georgia Winkcup.
Probably the most dramatic is Georgia Winkcup who late last summer couldn’t earn selection for the World university Games team, then in June at the Oceania Championships sliced 29 seconds from her 3000m steeplechase PB, followed by another two PBs in Europe totaling another nine seconds off her PB to land at 9:37.43 – the seventh fastest in Australian history.
“I am so incredibly excited to have been selected for my first open world championships team. I can’t wait to head over to Doha and give it all that I’ve got for all the people that have helped me to get here,” said Winkcup.
Another who has persevered for many years, and finally cracked an Australian senior team is 400m hurdler Sara Klein. She started with a PB this year of 57.99 and on four occasions improved that former best mark to clock 56.07 and win the Oceania title. Her time elevated her to tenth fastest in Australian history.
“Getting selected for world champs is an absolute dream come true,” she said. “I have to admit I cried a few times after getting the news but they were certainly happy tears! This season has been a long awaited break through and I'm still pinching myself.”
Klein, like Winkcup, recognised a group of people who are important for any athlete’s success – the support team.
“I wouldn't have been able to get this far without my beautiful family and friends and amazing support crew, so this is for them.”
Sydney University were the strongest represented club with five athletes on the team.
NSW members of the Australian for the 2019 IAAF World Championships:
400m Bendere Oboya (CBT, Renay Parkinson)
800m Carley Thomas (UTN, Maurica Powell)
1500m Jessica Hull (BAN, Pete Julian)
100m Hurdles Michelle Jenneke (SYU, Ash Mahoney)
400m Hurdles Sarah Carli (KEJ, Melissa Logan), Sara Klein (ASW, Lindsay Watson)
3000m Steeplechase Paige Campbell (SYU, Philo Saunders), Georgia Winkcup (UNSW, Ben Liddy)
4x100m Relay Kristie Edwards (UTN, Melinda Gainsford-Taylor/Andrew Murphy)
4x400m Relay Oboya, Bella O’Grady (UTN, Penny Gillies), Rebecca Bennett (SYU, Mike Hurst)
High Jump Nicola McDermott (SYU, Matthew Horsnell)
100m Rohan Browning (SYU, Andrew Murphy)
400m Steven Solomon (RBH, Penny Gillies)
5000m Morgan McDonald (RBH, Mick Byrne)
110m Hurdles Nicholas Hough (SYU, Anthony Benn)
4x400m Relay Solomon, **Tyler Gunn (GOS, Michael Zisti), Ian Halpin (BLM, Mike Hurst)
High Jump Brandon Starc (PAR, Alex Stewart)
**Subject to fitness.
David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW
Image: Brandon Starc