Selectors have confirmed that no fewer than 13 Sydney University Athletics Club (SUAC) athletes will represent Australia at the upcoming Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
It is the largest representation by SUAC at an international event, the previous record being 11 representatives at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Angie Ballard will lead the charge going into the Gold Coast as a defending Gold medallist having won the T54 1500m in Glasgow. Ballard has an incredible record at major championships having won 4 Silver medals at Paralympic games and 5 IPC World Championship Gold medals. In addition Angie has broken 4 world records and it is clear she is a force to be reckoned with at major championships.
Nick Hough and Michelle Jenneke will contest the short track hurdles, both are currently representing Australia at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham. Hough qualified for Gold Coast winning his 4th National title and produced 11 performances inside the qualifying standard for his event. Hough will appear at his 2nd Commonwealth games having finished 4th in Glasgow.
Jenneke was 2nd at the National Championships and Commonwealth Games Selection Trials this year to Sally Pearson, she goes to the Gold coast having already competed at a world championships (2x semi-finalist), the Olympic games in Rio and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games where she also finished 4th. Both athletes are in the best shape of their careers.
Ian Dewhurst won his 3rd national title at National Championships to book his spot on the team. Dewhurst will compete at his 2nd Commonwealth Games and looks to be close to career best form going into the meet. This after fighting back from a devastating hamstring tear leading into the Rio Olympics.
Rio Olympian Ella Nelson was selected to compete at the Games however withdrew for health reasons. We wish her a speedy recovery and congratulate Larissa Pasternatsky who was added to the team and will compete in the Women’s 200m.
Josh Ralph has qualified for his 2nd Commonwealth Games finishing 2nd at National Championships. Ralph qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio but was not selected. Ralph has dug deep this year and was outstanding at the trials. Considering the men’s 800m is arguably the toughest event for depth in Australia at present (7 out of the 8 athletes in the 800 final had Commonwealth Games qualifying performances), Ralph ran a race full of maturity to book his spot on the team, he will be a factor at the games. Ralph will also run the 4×400 and event he has run with distinction for his club and country previously.
Annie Rubie won her 2nd national title on her way to automatic selection for the Commonwealth Games. Rubie has timed her run to perfection saving her best performance for the championship races winning close races at both the NSW and National Championships. Her win at the national championships was her fastest 400m domestically finishing in 51.92. Rubie will compete at her 2nd Commonwealth Games, having already competed at 3 world championships and the Rio Olympics where she made the final of the 4×400. Rubie is in great shape and is a real chance to come home with some silverware as she will also contest the 4×400, the Glasgow 4×400 team finishing 4th.
SUAC alumnus Madeline Hills will compete at her 2nd Commonwealth Games having finished 4th the last time out in Glasgow. Hills is an Olympic finalist at both 5000 and the 3000 Steeple and will lock horns with another crack group of African athletes this time around at 5000m. Hills will also contest the 10000m for the first time at an international competition.
James Nipperess won his 5th national title to secure selection for the Commonwealth Games. “Nipper’ who has recently moved to Canberra celebrated his 10th consecutive season running for SUAC with selection in his 2nd Commonwealth Games team having already represented Australia at World Championships and World Cross Country championships. Nipperess was 9th in Glasgow and like Hills will face a field full of quality African athletes.
Angus Armstrong (Pole Vault), Nicola McDermott (High Jump), Rohan Browning (100, 4×100) and Josh Clark (100, 4×100) will all make their Commonwealth Games debuts.
Browning ran 2nd and Clark 3rd in the fastest 100m race contested by Australian athletes in more than a decade at the National Championships. Both will run the individual 100m and the 4×100 with the 4×100 team the best fielded by Australia in some time.
Angus Armstrong has improved significantly this season and is ranked is ranked 7th in the Commonwealth, the young man is not too far away from the podium.
Nicola McDermott has had a stellar year having jumped 1.90m this season, McDermott made her Australian debut at the IAAF World Championships in London and is well and truly in the mix at this level.
The Commonwealth Games track and field will be held on the Gold Coast from Sunday 8th April to Saturday 14th April.