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Outstanding running ousts Olympians from record books

19 January 2013

ATHLETICS: The first track session at the 2013 AYOF saw several outstanding performances with record books re-written and a good spread of gold across the nations competing.

The first record set was in the men’s 1500m and 2012 Olympian and Australian Record Holder Ryan Gregson was erased from the record books.

Tasmanian Hugh Nicklason led from the start and pushed hard to win gold in 3minutes, 54.11 seconds. He bettered the time set by his idol Gregson back in 2007.

Nicklason was thrilled to have beaten the time from one of his idols.

“I’m stoked, what can I say? I’ve watched him race a lot. He is an amazing runner and one of my idols growing up,” Nicklason said.

“I guess the only thing that could have made it better was another World Youth qualifier (3:52.00) but I have the rest of the season to get that in races with the older faster guys.”

Brazilian Weverton Fidelis sat on the shoulder of the Australian 17-year-old over the middle 1000 metres before the South American faded in the final stages to third and Australia Green runner Jonas Arand challenged hard over the final 150 metres to win silver in a great time of 3:55.26.

The most comfortable and impressive victory of the morning session came from Yang Lu of China in the men’s 110m hurdles. Arms raised and slowing over the line he clocked 13.70s to smash the AYOF record (13.92s) and set a World Youth qualifier. Australians Matthew DeBruin (14.26s) and Brendan Madeira (14.29) won the silver and bronze.

Also impressive over the 10 sticks was Aliyah Johnson in the women’s 100m hurdles. The Brisbane athlete who trains in the squad with Olympians Mitchell Watt and Henry Frayne won in 13.89 seconds.

The 17-year-old who already has a World Youth qualifier to her name (13.75s) has a busy program in Sydney as you would expect from an athlete also with a World Youth qualifier in the heptathlon. 

Yun Zheng of China (14.56s) out dipped Australian Katrina Hunt (14.59s) to win the silver.

Victorian Molly Blakey set a personal best in the women’s 400m of 54.69 second, broke the AYOF record and set another World Youth qualifier. But it was the AYOF gold that she was most pleased with.

“I’m really happy...it’s a PB so I couldn’t do much better,” Blakey said.                                                     

“I haven’t raced these girls before and I wasn’t sure what time I would do but to be honest all I was caring about the gold.”

The 16-year-old whose father played AFL from 1985-2002 has now set four World Youth qualifiers. Yet she had to work hard for the victory with Amber Rowlandson and Rebekah Newton representing Australia Green challenging down the length of the final straight. Rowlandson,17, who went out hard from the outside lane clocked 54.82 and Newton, 17, 54.83.

In the men’s 400m Bailey Stewart from New Zealand was thrilled with his win (49.03s). He was too strong for Anderson Cordeiro Lima of Brazil (49.77) with Jarrod Cullen third on his home track (50.23s).

As always there was plenty of interest in the 100m finals.

Gold in the men’s 100m went to Sydney crowd favourite Anas Abu-Ganaba. The 17-year-old, who was born in Sudan and moved to Australia when he was eight, won comfortably from lane two in 10.88 seconds.

The talented athlete who has stopped playing rugby league to concentrate on his dream of getting to the Olympics had plenty of family in the stands cheering him on. He was also very intrigued by the small Boxing Kangaroo plush toy all medallists received.

Jesse Usoalii, who was born in the Northern Territory and lives in Tasmania, won silver in 11.07s and China’s Xucheng Zhang placed third (11.10s).

The gold in the women’s 100m is heading over the Tasman Sea due to a super run from New Zealander Zoe Hobbs. She won gold in 12.42 seconds ahead of Phoebe-Rose Turton (12.50s) who is coached by Sally Pearson’s coach Sharon Hannan. Katrina Hunt from NSW won the bronze (12.74s).

In other events, Christopher Thrupp won the men’s 2000m steeplechase (6:10.98) and Amy McCormick the women’s 2000m steeplechase (6:50.35) both running for Australia Green.

China picked up another gold on the track in the women’s 1500m when Shuangshuang Xu (4:38.20) outsprinted Arianna Lord of New Zealand (4:38.79). Bridget Reilly running for Australia Gold won the bronze (4:41.75).

In the final races of the session 400m winner Blakey anchored Australia Gold to victory and a new AYOF record in the women’s 4x100m relay. She held off the New Zealand 100m champion Hobbs for a winning time of 47.09 seconds. The young men from China then outclassed the field to take the men’s 4x100m relay in 41.91 seconds.

The athletics program will resume at 3pm Saturday with 11 more gold medals to be decided on the track.

Andrew Reid
Olympics.com.au

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