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Ella Nelson qualifies for London 2017

13 March 2017

ATHLETICS: Ella Nelson (NSW) is one step closer to a start at the IAAF World Championships after a strong win in the women’s 200m to qualify for London 2017 on a blustery day at the 2017 SUMMERofATHS Grand Prix.

Stopping the clock at 23.00 (w: +1.5), the fastest time by an Australian this year, the performance puts her in the box seat for green and gold selection if she can win the national crown at the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships later this month.

Nelson is based at ALTIS, a high performance centre in Phoenix (USA), with the Olympian returning to Australia early last week as she begins her assault on a start in the world championships final after missing the round-of-eight at Rio 2016 by 0.01 seconds.

“I was so nervous, my two biggest fears are flying and opening up my season and I’ve done both this week after coming back from the States earlier this week. I’m glad to have ticked the box, got the qualifier and now for Nationals,” Nelson said.

“I try to trick myself into thinking that I haven’t just flown long haul, but I’m not sure how it is going because that was hard. Hopefully, by the Australian Championships I’ll be more settled in and ready to run a fast time at home in Sydney.

“The first race is always the unknown. You don’t know what’s going to happen, you’ve put in a lot of work and you just hope. I really wanted a little bit quicker, but I’m not getting caught up in that.”

Yoshihide Kiryu (JPN) continued his impressive outing at the AIS Track and Field Centre, winning the men’s race in a time of 20.60 (w: +1.1). Rio 2016 Olympian Alex Hartmann (Qld) placed 4th in 20.88.

It was a bittersweet afternoon for Michelle Jenneke (NSW), with the 23-year-old clocking 12.99 (w: +1.3) to win the women’s 100m hurdles but miss the IAAF World Championships qualifier by a mere 0.01 seconds. Brianna Beahan (WA) placed second in 13.18, with Elizabeth Clay (Qld, 13.36) placing third.

Her fifth fastest time ever, the result is her first sub-13 second run since the Australian Athletics Championships last year, boosting her confidence ahead of the Selection Trail for London 2017 later this month.

“It was really good to be back under that 13-second barrier. Everything I’ve been doing recently has been building up to this, I’ve been running through a very heavy training block because I like the race experience, but now I’m starting to freshen up a bit and I believe I’ll be better for the Nationals,” Jenneke said.

“I’m not sure if I will be in PB shape for the Australian Championships, but I do think I will be for world championships. That’s when it matters.”

In the men’s ambulant 800m, Paralympic champion James Turner (NSW) clocked 2:09.57 to place third, with the result following his outstanding second place in the 400m last night. Cross the line in 53.05 in that race, the time was faster than the world record for his T36 cerebral palsy class.

In other results on day two of the SUMMERofATHS Grand Prix:

-          Josh Ralph (NSW) took line honours in the men’s 800m in a time of 1:48.98, after Peter Bol (Vic) was disqualified for breaking. Brad Mathas (NZL, 1:49.04) was second, with Mason Cohen (NSW, 1:49.2) third.

-          Soaring to a personal best mark of 6.65m (w: +1.2), World University Games bronze medallist Naa Anang (Qld) won the women’s long jump. The men’s event was won by Chris Mitrevski (Vic) after he recorded a wind-assisted 8.05m (w: +2.7) leap.

-          With throws of 80.01m and 60.96m respectively, Hamish Peacock (Tas) and Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT) won the men’s and women’s javelin throw respectively.

-          Already qualified for the IAAF World Championships, Damien Birkinhead (Vic) continued his strong season with a 20.36m throw to win the men’s shot put from Matthew Cowie (Vic, second, 17.50m) and Aiden Harvey (NSW, third, 16.65m).

-          Linden Hall (Vic) and Jenny Blundell (NSW) duelled throughout the women’s 1500m, stopping the clock in 4:12.33 and 4:12.76 respectively to set up a fantastic head-to-head battle at the upcoming Australian Athletics Championships.

Athletics Australia

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