Olympic 400m representative Joel Milburn will be the headline act at tomorrow’s inaugural Waratah Invitational Meet.
The 22 year old is set to compete in both the 200m and 400m during the two and a half hour long meet, which is aimed at bridging the gap between ANSW level competition and high profile national level meets such as the Sydney Track Classic and Melbourne Grand Prix.
Milburn has returned to heavy training in the past months after having a six week recovery from his personal best of 44.80 seconds in the heats and a gutsy third place in his semi-final of the Beijing Olympics. Last weekend he ‘blew out the cobwebs’ with a run of 47.15 seconds over 400m and looks to run faster this week as he prepares for the business end of the season, culminating in the Sydney Track Classic (28 February), Melbourne Grand Prix (5 March), and Australian Championships (19-21 March).
Milburn will be challenged by South Australia’s Keith Sheehy and 2007 NSW champion Henry Mitchell. Also in the field and stepping up in distance is Australian 110m hurdles champion Justin Merlino.
The women’s high jump is set to be a high quality competition, with Athens Olympian Petrina Price seeking to continue her return to top form. So far this season she has recorded a leap of 1.89m and will have the qualifying standards for the Berlin world championships, 1.95m (A) and 1.91m (B) in her sights for the rest of the season.
Price is joined in the field by 2006 Commonwealth Games representative Claire Mallett (1.85m so far this season), 2007 world youth representative Trudy Thompson (1.81m) and 2009 world youth aspirant Amy Pejkovic (1.79m).
The men’s 100m is an open affair, with the middle lanes drawn by Jump Start to London 2012 athlete Liam Gander and South Australia’s Keith Sheehy, with the pair flanked by Patrick Fakiye and Matt Lynch. The women’s race will see a close tussle between national bronze medalist Laura Verlinden and 15 year old Karlie Morton, who is second on the NSW rankings so far this season with her 11.87 second run at the Pacific School Games.
Another event of interest is the 1500m, which on the women’s side will see the season debut of Australian champion Nikki Molan, who will compete against Melinda Vernon and talented junior athletes in the form of Jenny Blundell and Selma Kajan. The race will put 800m runner Matt Hammond up against the experienced Mark Abercromby, with a time in the mid 3:40s expected given decisive running and good conditions.
Limited entries are available in some events where space still exists in a field and will be filled on a first come basis. Click here to view the full timetable and start list for the meet.