7 February 2015
Josh Clarke 10:15 #RoadToRio
All the indications were there for Josh Clarke (SYU), but that doesn’t lessen the great excitement of him securing the Olympic qualifier at the ACT Championships yesterday.
He had by-passed the 2015 world championships to concentrated on a build up for a shot at Rio. Early season he had smashed his 200m personal best then in his opening 100m of the season, at the Hunter Track Classic last weekend, he clocked an impressive 10.39 into a strong 2.8m/s wind. It seemed it was only a matter of time before, with the right conditions; he would be able to dip under the Rio Olympic qualifier of 10.16.
Yesterday in Canberra, running down the back straight to take advantage of the better conditions Clarke ran 10.21 (0.0) in the heat. In the final, it took a little while to strike, but over the later stages he ran away from two quick Queenslander Tom Gamble and Alex Hartmann as he stopped the clock at 10.15, just 0.01 seconds under the Olympic standard. Considering it is unlikely more than three Aussies can match the standard, it looks odds on Clarke will be on the plane to Rio.
No surprise there was much interest by the media, but immediately Clarke finished with these responsibilities, he sort out one person the thanks, Barry Mullins. The North Queensland photo finish judge was flown to Canberra, with his Finish Lynx equipment, to allow the race to be conducted on the back straight. Clarke’s gesture was a measure of the outstanding young person he is.
Clarke’s time moved him from tenth to fifth on the Australian All Time list and now only Patrick Johnson (9.93), Matt Shirvington (10.03), Josh Ross (10.08) and Damien Marsh (10.13) have ever run faster. It was the fastest time by an Aussie in eight and a half years.
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: Josh Clarke running 10.15 in Canberra (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)