Ralph on track for crack at Glasgow

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Sydney University Athletes Club (SUAC) representative Josh Ralph is one step closer to qualifying for this year’s Commonwealth Games after a brilliant performance at last weekend’s Melbourne Track Classic.

Ralph, the national 400m bronze medallist, ran a personal best time (1.45.80) and recorded his first Commonwealth Games A qualifier of the season in the men’s 800m. He finished just behind the USA’s Duane Soloman, who was fourth at the 2012 Olympic Games. With the pace of the race very fast in the early stages, Ralph ran intelligently, deciding to back off and run to his own race plan. The move paid dividends as Ralph moved into second place at the top of the straight and held off a late surge from Australian Olympic representative Jeff Risely. A win at the Australian Athletics Championships (nationals) in a fortnight’s time will see Ralph automatically qualify for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Ralph is now the 16th fastest Australian of all time in the 800m and number two on the SUAC list.

Ralph was far from alone as a star SUAC performer in Melbourne.

In the women’s 100m hurdles Michelle Jenneke ran a Commonwealth Games B qualifier, recording a personal best time of 13.28. Jenneke finished third to Olympic champion Sally Pearson.

Ella Nelson was the first Australian in the women’s 200m, running 23.83, as she finished second to the USA’s Natasha Hastings. At the halfway point Nelson unleashed her trademark blistering finish, pushing the World Championship silver medallist all the way. In the same race, teammate Annie Rubie was fourth (24.12).

In the men’s 200m race Jarrod Geddes won with a time of 21.10, beating home the Jamaican Mario Forsythe with a blistering final 100m.

Nick Hough was second in the men’s 110m hurdles, finishing just behind world champion David Oliver. Hough dipped under 14 seconds again, recording a time of 13.93 and was in front of the Oliver through the first three flights of hurdles.

400m hurdler Ian Dewhurst finished third, recording another Commonwealth Games B qualifier. Dewhurst again finished strongly, but just couldn’t overhaul Australian national champion Tristan Thomas. This event looks to be a cracker at the nationals, with very little between Thomas and Dewhurst.

Other results in Brisbane included: Alix Kennedy recorded a third placing in the women’s discus, throwing 52.14m; Amy Pejkovic was fourth in the women’s high jump, clearing 1.8m; Jenny Blundell was fifth in the women’s 1,500m, running a personal time of 4.13.89; while Jin Su Jung finished sixth in the men’s 100m in 10.61.

New SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holders Georgia Wassall and Kate Spencer also performed very well. Wassall was second in the women’s 800m behind world champion Eunice Sum, recording a time of 2.03.23 in a rough and tactical affair. Kate Spencer finished third in the women’s steeplechase, recording a time of 10.02.85.

Next week’s action moves to Brisbane for the Brisbane Track Classic.

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.