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Events to watch at Olympic trials

2 March 2012

The top eight events to watch out for at the March 2-3 Olympic track and field trials at Lakeside Stadium. For the full television schedule click here.

Men's 400m (Heats: Friday, 1900 AEDT. Final: Saturday, 2040)

Although it's been a traditionally strong event for Australia in recent times, no-one has yet gone under the qualifying standard of 45.25. John Steffensen looks the man to beat - and unsurprisingly, he's not hiding from the fact. The field also includes New Delhi Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sean Wroe, Ben Offereins and teenager Steve Solomon. To challenge for a 4x400m medal in London, all of the Australian men are looking to inch towards the qualifying standard.

Women's 100m (Heats: Friday 1930, Final: Friday 2120)

If conditions are favourable, Sally Pearson could give Melinda Gainsford-Taylor's longstanding national record of 11.12 a shake. It will be another busy weekend for the Queenslander, who is also contesting the 100m hurdles and the 200m.

Men's 100m (Heats: Friday, 1943. Final: Saturday, 1935)

Barring a major shock, Australia is likely to be without a competitor in the most prestigious Olympic event of all for a second straight Games. Aaron Rouge-Serret and comeback man Joshua Ross boast the best credentials in the field.

Men's 1500m (Friday, 2110)

Olympic and world champ Asbel Kiprop takes on Australian Jeff Riseley, who can boast Melbourne victories over the great Kenyan in each of the past two years. Australian record holder Ryan Gregson is under something of an injury cloud.

Men's long jump (Saturday, 1900)

In the absence of world championships silver medallist Mitchell Watt, most eyes will be on his training partner and triple jump specialist Henry Frayne, who jumped a stunning 8.27m in Sydney last month. But this is an event with considerable depth for Australia with Commonwealth champion Fabrice Lapierre, Robbie Crowther and Chris Noffke also competing. It will be one of the most fiercely contested events of the weekend and a huge medal chance in London.

Women's 100m hurdles (Saturday, 1926)

The only real question that needs to be answered here is what Sally Pearson's winning time will be. She reckons she's in 12.5 shape, which is scary-fast so early in the season. Visiting US hurdler Yvette Lewis will provide welcome competition.

Women's pole vault (Saturday, 1930)

Alana Boyd has shot into Olympic medal calculations after smashing the Australian record with a vault of 4.76m last weekend in Perth. How high can she go in Melbourne? Teenager Liz Parnov, the 2010 Youth Olympic Games silver medallist, also has an Olympic A qualifier to her name.

Men's 5000m (Saturday, 2112)

Collis Birmingham shapes as the favourite, while Craig Mottram has also bettered the qualifying mark. Also look out for Ben St Lawrence - whose main focus for London is the the 10,000m - and David McNeill, who has been training alongside US legend Bernard Lagat.

John Salvado

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