13 of Sydney University Athletics Club’s (SUAC) finest athletes will line-up alongside some of the most talented athletes in the world at Saturday’s IAAF Melbourne World Challenge at Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park.
Many of the 13-strong SUAC contingent have recorded Australian Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifying times, and this weekend’s World Challenge will offer them another opportunity to further their chances of selection in the Australian team to compete at July/August’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Leading the charge for SUAC is national 400m bronze medallist Josh Ralph, who is looking to continue to establish himself as a force in the 800m. Ralph defeated the nation’s best at February’s Perth Track classic, where he ran another 800m Commonwealth Games B qualifier. Ralph is undefeated in the 800m this season and on Saturday night he will take on the USA’s Dwayne Soliman – who finished fourth at the 2012 Olympic Games.
110m sprinter Nicholas Hough will look to break the SUAC record (13.55) when he comes up against world champion David Oliver. Hough, who in 2010 became the first ever Youth Olympic Games hurdles gold medallist, is in good form after recording a time of 13.65 at last weekend’s Sydney Track Classic.
Fellow hurdler Ian Dewhurst will once again test himself against Olympic Games and World Championships semi-finalist and Australian national champion Tristan Thomas in the 400m hurdles. Dewhurst defeated Thomas for the first time at last weekend’s Sydney Track Classic.
Jarrod Geddes, who spent a few weeks earlier this year training with the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, will line up in the 100m and 200m races. Geddes has already run a 200m Commonwealth Games B qualifier this season. Competing alongside him in the 100m is SUAC teammate Jin Jung.
In the women’s 200m event, Ella Nelson and Anneliese Rubie will be flying the flag for SUAC. Both sprinters are in great form and ran strongly at last weekend’s Sydney Track Classic. Nelson recorded a 200m Commonwealth Games B qualifier and was narrowly pipped at the post by Sally Pearson, while Rubie was the first Australian to cross the finishing line in the 400m race – in the process recording a season best time.
2012 World Junior Championships hurdler Michelle Jenneke is up against reigning Olympic Games champion Sally Pearson in the women’s 110m hurdles. This season Jenneke has already recorded a time that was just one-one hundredth of a second outside of a Commonwealth Games B qualifier.
2012 World Junior Championships long-distance runner Jenny Blundell is up against a talented field of athletes in the women’s 1,500m. Blundell recorded a personal best time (4.16) to finish 10th at the Perth Track Classic last month.
High jumper Amy Pejkovic will face the best domestic field in many years on Saturday. The 2010 World Junior Championships representative has been in fine form – having recorded a few Commonwealth Games B qualifiers already this season.
2013 World University Games discus athlete Alix Kennedy is just 10cm short of a Commonwealth Games B qualifier. Kennedy threw a personal best distance at last year’s corresponding event and she will look to do the same on Saturday in Melbourne.
New Sydney University student Georgia Wassall will head into this weekend’s women’s 800m race in red hot form after recording a victory and a Commonwealth Games B qualifier in Sydney. Wassall, the reigning national 800m champion, will compete alongside teammate Kelly Young.
In the women’s steeplechase, Kate Spencer (also a new Sydney University student) will battle it out against Olympian Victoria Mitchell and Sydney Track Classic 5km steeplechase victor Madeline Heiner. Spencer is in fine form herself, having recently recorded Commonwealth Games B qualifiers in the steeplechase and 5km events – including a NSW recording breaking performance a couple of weeks ago.
This Saturday’s IAAF Melbourne World Challenge is Australia’s pinnacle track and field event and will be held at Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park. All the action begins at 5pm.
For further information regarding SUAC visit www.facebook.com/SUACinfo or www.suac.org. SUAC is also hosting an End of Season Harbour Cruise on Saturday 12 April, details of which can be found on the clubs website and facebook page.