Sydney University Athletics Club sprinter has withdrawn from the 100m at Rio citing poor form after battling with a hamstring injury.
A current member of the SUSF Elite Athlete Program and Sydney University commerce student, Clarke ran the fastest 100m by an Australian in eight years at the ACT Championships, 2016. There, he posted a time of 10.15 seconds, beating the Rio qualifier, but in bitter sweet circumstances also pulling his hamstring tendon in the race.
Australian head coach Craig Hilliard praised Clarke for his courageous decision which focuses on the long-term future rather than immediate outcome.
Supported by his coach and 1954 Commonwealth Games 4x100m relay gold medallist, Nancy Atterton, Clarke ultimately decided he would not be ready to peak at the Games despite his best efforts to stay on track with preparations while recovering from injury.
The fifth fastest Australian across 100m, Clarke was set to be Australia’s first male sprinter to compete at the games since Athens in 2004.
While this is devastating news, at 21 years of age, Clarke has maintained his fitness and will now focus on regaining form for future meets.
Clarke’s withdrawal means Sydney Uni will be represented by 30 athletes across the Rio (6-22 August) and Paralympic (8-19 September) games, a significant presence among Australia’s strong team.