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Buckman creates history in Moscow

14 August 2013

ATHLETICS: Australia will field its first ever women’s 1500m finalist at the IAAF World Championships after Zoe Buckman (ACT) smashed her personal best to win her semi-final in Moscow. 

Courageously holding her position in a rough penultimate round, Buckman sat confidently just off the rail for much of the race. Taking her opportunity to move inside Genzebe Dibaba (ETH) coming into the straight, the 24-year-old surged forward to take a narrow lead and cross victorious in a time of 4:04.82 from Faith Kipyogen (KEN, second, 4:04.83). 

“I want to try and enjoy this a bit before getting fired up for the final,” Buckman said. 

“I wanted to try and run the way that I had in the heat, but this time I didn’t just want to wait for a gap I decided to run a bit wider and keep some morespace open so that when I had a chance I could push. I have to say that I was a little more tense in that race than I was in the heat because it means so much to me to make the final. 

“I got knocked a round a bit, but I was determined to stay where I was and if I got through keep running. I didn’t want to hang on for fourth place so I am really happy. I leave this championships with a new personal best and a spot in the final already so that’s fantastic, but I am starting to believe that I can win a medal.” 

Buckman’s stunning run follows her win in the heat in a time of 4:06.99 this past Sunday and caps off a big month that has seen the London Olympian show a dramatic improvement in her ability to tactically read a race. 

Her place in the final eclipses the previous best performance at the championship of 17th place overall shared by Margaret Cowley and Lisa Corrigan. If Buckman places in the top-eight, she will become the first Australian woman to do so at either anOlympic Games or IAAF World Championships since Crowley placed 5th in Atlanta (USA) in 1996. 

Buckman was joined in-stadium on Tuesday night by Julian Wruck (Qld), who finished 11th in the men’s discus final, and Lauren Boden (ACT) and Tristan Thomas (Tas) in the women’s and men’s 400m hurdles semi-finals. 

The youngest ever male to advance to the round-of-12 at the championships, Wruck was ranked 11th coming into the final and was unable to improve on it. Opening his account with 60.91m, the national champion improved to 60.91m on his second attempt before closing out his IAAF World Championships campaign with a throw of 62.40m. 

Unable to recapture early season form that saw the UCLA student win the NCAA Division 1 title and improve his personal best to 68.16m, Wruck’s performance continues a steep major championships learning curve for the 22-year-old, with Moscowdelivering yet another opportunity for him to improve his craft in an eventoften dominated by those much older than him. 

“I’ve done close to what I wanted. I can’t say I’m not disappointed because I wanted top-eight but it could have been worse and there are always things that youtake away from a championship like this one. I’m not far away from my goal and I just have to keep improving from here,” Wruck said 

“In retrospect I think I have made a couple of bad decisions in the last couple of months. That being said, I have continued to improve so much in the past few years and I expect to do the same thing in the years to come. It was good to be out there today and not be nervous. That’s a big thing to come out of this event. I still need to build on my experience, I’m a young man in an old man event and have plenty more to offer in the years to come.” 

Unable to progress to the final this time around, Boden placed 7th in her semi-final of the women’s 400m hurdles in a time of 55.75. 

Improving on her performance from the 2012 London Olympic Games to place in the top-16, Boden feels that she is continually on the improve and she is content to finish the 2013 season with a new personal best from last month and her best ever performance at an IAAF World Championships. 

“I executed my race well and that’s good, although I felt like I couldn’t catch the girls as the race went on. I didn’t run as fast as I would have liked and that’s a little disappointing, but I have made a top-16 which is a step forward and have a PB this year too so that’s great,” Boden said. 

“Breaking 55 seconds is going to have wait for this year unfortunately but I know it is in my. Hopefully it will come next year when I am in the mix for a gold medal in Glasgow.” 

Thomas also placed 7th in his men’s 400m hurdles semi-final and was unable to advance. His time of 49.91 is his third fastest this year, and he placed 18th overall. 

“I had a go today. I did a lot of things right, it’s just you can’t do anything wrong at this level,” Thomas said. 

“As I thought yesterday when I finally found out I was in the semi, no matter what happens today it’s a real gift to be able to line up in a semi final at the world champs. Last year I got really caught up in making the final andthought it’s either final or end up miserable, but tonight it was more like you race against some big names and you enjoy the experience.  I looked at the field and thought it’s going to be a miracle to get through to the final, but instead I smiled and thought here is a great opportunity to give it a go without any of the pressures of doing well.” 

Day 5 of the IAAF World Championships features only a morning session, with Olympic medallist Jared Tallent (Vic) set to join Chris Erickson (Vic) and Ian Rayson (NSW) in the men’s 50km race walk final from 2:30pm AEST. 

In-stadium, Australian Flame debutant Jackie Areson (Qld) will compete in the heats of the women’s 5000m and Fabrice Lapierre (NSW) will soar in the qualifying round of the men’s long jump.

Athletics Australia

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