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Brill and Wassall top track champions

19 January 2013

ATHLETICS: The stand-out performance on the track in the afternoon session on Saturday was Victorian Nathan Brill in the 5000m walk.

Training hard and everyday at Falls Creek with his coach Simon Baker (Olympian 1988, 1992, 1996) has really paid off.

“It was pretty hard with that Chinese guy on my heels but I just put in a few surges and got rid of him around the 2k, 3k mark. He could have got back on but I really wanted to win,” Brill said.

“The time was great. A PB of 36 seconds I think. I’d really like to thank my coach.”

Up against the number two ranked walker in the world, Lu Yang from China it was always going to be a fast race and the year 11 student from the Mornington Peninsula lifted.

Brill set a huge personal best, by 36 seconds, breaking the AYOF record set in 2005 by 45 seconds and missing the Australian record by only two seconds.

Dual Olympian Claire Tallent was watching as a team manager and praised the young champion.

“He is so positive, very talented and wants to really work hard to be the best walker he can be. He has a very bright future ahead.”

Georgia Wassall from Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast was the second track athlete on Saturday to break an AYOF record previously held by a 2012 Olympian.

Wassall and her coach Kevin Wills had devised a race plan for the women’s 800m “to burn off the other girls with 500 metres to go” and the tactics worked brilliantly.

The challengers couldn’t bridge the gap and she held on for a comfortable win, breaking Zoe Buckman’s record from the 2005 AYOF. Buckman was a semi-finalist in the 1500m at the London Olympics.

New Zealand runner Tarryn Davey (2:10.44) and Lucy Jacobs (2:10.70) won the silver and bronze medals.

Two Australian athletes achieved an impressive track double gold. Anas Abu-Ganaba backed up his 100m victory to impressively win his favourite 200m event, and 1500m champion Hugh Nicklason also took the men’s 800m title.

Abu-Ganaba ran 21.85 seconds into a 1.9 m/s headwind raising his hand into the air before the line ‘Usain Bolt style’ like his idol. The Sydney runner, who has a heavily strapped groin following an injury scare, is chasing a 21.50 qualifier this season for the World Youth Games.

“I was really happy with the run, especially with the wind,” Abu-Ganaba said. The quietly spoken athlete is confident he can achieve great things this season.

Jacob Matson (22.49) from New Zealand finished second and Xucheng Zhang of China (22.57s) won the bronze.

Nicklason, who earlier in the day broke Ryan Gregson’s AYOF record for the 1500m, held off a strong challenge from fellow Australian Jonas Aranda to win the men’s 800m by 0.09 seconds in 1:52.64. Michael Dawson of New Zealand placed third, 1:54.45.

Aliyah Johnson also won the long jump to follow her 100m hurdles victory from Saturday morning – read more >>> http://ayof2013.olympics.com.au/news/field-athletes-set-new-standards

At the start of the afternoon session Bryce Collins representing Australia Gold ran a personal best in the men’s 400m hurdles of 53.19 seconds ahead of Matthew DeBruin 54.43s (Australia Green) and Brazilian Julio Cesar Nascimento, 57.78s.

“I was a bit off pace a few months ago but I put in the hard yards over the last couple of months and now I’ve run a PB so I feel really good,” Collins said.

China continued their great form on the track taking gold in the women’s 200m and women’s 5000m walk.

Qingqing Zhan (24.77s) held her form right to the line to outsprint Australians Maddie Coates (24.89) and Phoebe-Rose Turton (25.02) in the 200m.

Jiayu Yang dominated the women’s walk and even beat some of the men. She became the fourth consecutive Chinese winner of this race and was just outside her own personal best and AYOF record with her time of 23:07.85. Australians Zoe Boldiston (24:52.32) and Tayla-Paige Billington (25:26.28) both set large personal bests and won the minor medals.

In other events, Brazilian Weverton Fidelis (8:40.69) was outstanding in the men’s 3000m to hold off courageous Australian Lachlan Cook (8:42.74) in a great battle over the final 600m. New Zealand’s Jacob Priddey won the bronze ahead of 2000m steeplechase champion Chris Thrupp (8:58.80) in fourth.

Bri Illarda won gold in the women’s 3000m. She clocked 9:55.82s ahead of New Zealand runners Audrey Gregan (10:01.01) and Arianna Lord (10:06.22) for the silver and bronze.

Rebekah Newton won the women’s 400m hurdles in 63.38 seconds ahead of Kasey Moore (Australia Gold) 66.24s.

The climax of the athletics competition, which was held in two sessions on one day due to the extreme weather on Friday, was the Swiss relays. The fantastic 100m-200m-300m-400m relay format had the crowd and teams on their feet.

Australia Green won the women’s relay ahead of New Zealand and Australia Gold. New Zealand won the men’s relay, with Brazil taking silver and China who finished third were disqualified for a change over infringement, moving Australia Gold to bronze. 

In total there were five AYOF records set on the track and eight on the field across the day.

Andrew Reid

Follow the AYOF on Twitter @AYOF2013 #AYOF2013 #RoadtoRio 

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