Two finals appearances and four semi-final berths from Sydney University Athletics Club (SUAC) competitors at the just finished World Athletics Championships held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon in the US, has put them in good stead for the about-to-start Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
SUAC had eight representatives in the Australian squad at Eugene, with Mackenzie Little making the final in the women’s javelin, Nicola Olyslager (McDermott) making the final of the women’s high jump, hurdlers Michelle Jenneke and Nicholas Hough making respective women’s and men’s semi-finals, Alexander Beck making the semi-finals in the men’s 400m, and Catriona Bisset making the semi-finals of the women’s 800m.
Little qualified for the final of the women’s javelin with a throw of 59.06m, along with fellow Australian Kelsey-Lee Barber, who threw 61.27m. Barber then unleashed a 66.91m throw in the final to win the gold, with the US Kara Winger claiming silver with a 64.05m throw and Japan’s Haruka Kitaguchi (63.27m) taking bronze. Mackenzie finished 5th overall with a PB of 63.22m.
Tokyo Olympic Games silver medallist Nicola Olyslager earned a finals berth in the women’s high jump with a leap of 1.93m to finish fourth in her heat. Her Aussie teammate and great rival Eleanor Patterson also made the final, where she unleashed a 2.2m jump to claim gold and a new Australian record. Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh (2.02m) claimed sliver, with Italy’s Elena Valloritgara (2.00m) earning bronze. Nicola finished equal fifth overall with Uzbekistan’s Safina Sadullayeva, clearing 1.96m.
Michelle Jenneke finished third in her heat of the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.84s to qualify for a semi-final. She lowered her time to a PB 12.66 to run 5th in her semi-final but missed a finals berth. SUAC teammate Elizabeth Clay missed a berth in the semi-finals.
Nicholas Hough ran a strong 13.51s in his heat of the 110m men’s hurdles, finishing 18th fastest and qualifying for a semi-finals berth. He lowered his time to 13.42 in finishing 7th in his semi-finals heat and missed out on a berth in the final. The US’s Grant Holloway (13.03) took gold, with countryman Trey Cunningham (13.08) claiming silver and Spain’s Asier Martinez (13-17) taking bronze.
Alexander Beck ran 45.99 in his heat of the men’s 400m, placing him 21st in the standings and a semi-final berth. He finished 23rd overall in the semi-finals with a time of 46.21. Michael Norman of the US claimed gold in 44.29, with Grenada’s Kirani James (44.48) taking silver and Great Britain’s Matthew Hudson-Smith (44.66) taking bronze.
Catriona Bisset ran 2:22.25 in her heat of the women’s 800m, a time that earned her a berth in the semi-finals. She lowered that time to 2.05.20 in her semi-final but missed a berth in the final. Athing Mu of the US won gold in 1:56.30 from Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson (1:56.38) and Kenya’s Mary Moraa (1:56.71).
SUAC’s emerging 100m star Rohan Browning ran 10.22 to finish 5th in his heat, but it wasn’t fast enough to earn a semi-final berth. The final was a US affair with Fred Kerley taking gold in a slick time of 9.86, and Marvin Bracy (9.88) and Trayvon Bromell (9.88) claiming silver and bronze. Browning finished equal 35th overall with Brazil’s Felipe Bardi.
SUAC representatives will now join the large Australian contingent assembling in Birmingham for the opening of the Commonwealth Games on Thursday.