London World Championships qualifying update
18 May 2017
ATHLETICS: Five years after the 2012 Olympic Games, the athletics world is ready once again to focus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium as London plays host to the 2017 IAAF World Championships from 4-13 August.
For an elite athlete to qualify for the world championships, they must satisfy the criteria as outlined by Athletics Australia, which includes equalling for bettering a nominated qualifying time, distance or height.
As it stands, 16 women and 12 men have achieved qualifying standards in the track, field and walks disciplines with an additional 15 women and 6 men in the marathon events.
Headlining the current team is 2011 100m hurdles world champion Sally Pearson (Qld), who made a triumphant return to the Australian athletic scene following a lengthy time on the sidelines due to injury.
Running 12.75 (w: +1.6) in the heats of the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships, the London 2012 Olympic champion was unmatched in the final where she crossed the line in wind-assisted 12.53 (w: +2.3) to win her eighth national crown.
Pearson’s time in the heat was her best run since the Doha Diamond League in the days before her season ending wrist injury in 2015, with her final result her fastest performance since winning silver at the Moscow 2013 IAAF World Championships.
Joining Pearson on the plane will be fellow world championships gold medallist Dani Stevens (NSW, nee Samuels) in the discus. Stevens is having one of her most consistent seasons to date, with her performance at the NSW Open Championships her second best of her career reaching 66.78m.
Just last weekend, Stevens further proved her good form when she finished just 50cm behind two-time Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic (CRO) at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Shanghai (CHN).
Rio 2016 medallists Jared Tallent (SA) and Dane Bird-Smith (Qld) will be two of six walkers set to don the green and gold in the 50km and 20km race walks in London. Tallent, who already has three world championships medals to his name (50km walk silver in Daegu 2011 and Beijing 2015, bronze in 2013 Moscow), will return to the Mall in London, the scene of his gold-medal winning 50km walk performance at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Long jumper Fabrice Lapierre (NSW) grabbed the silver medal at the 2015 world championships and will head to London ready to go up against with a very competitive field that will push his limits. Jumping a windy 8.50m (+4.4) at the Longhorn Invitational, Lapierre’s form has been up and down in 2017, but will be targeting the finals in an unpredictable field inside the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium this August.
After falling just 0.01 of a second short of the Olympic final in Rio last year, 200m sprinter Ella Nelson (NSW) is ready for revenge and will head to the London World Championships with making the top-8 in the world her goal.
Tasmanian javelin thrower Hamish Peacock is also named in the team, and will be supported in the throwing events by 24-year-old Olympic finalist Damien Birkinhead (Vic) in the men’s shotput and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Kelsey Lee-Roberts (ACT) in the javelin.
Three-time Australian 400m champion Morgan Mitchell (Vic) is London bound after securing three qualifiers to date, including a fast time of 51.65 seconds at the SUMMERofATHS Grand Prix this year.
Kurtis Marschall (SA) is set to get his first taste of world championships competition after the 20-year-old cleared 5.70m at the South Australian state championships this year, while female vaulter Nina Kennedy (WA) jumped 4.55m at the WA championships to see her place in the team.
Heading to her fourth world championships, 400m hurdler Lauren Wells (ACT) will be looking to reach the final for the first time in her career after reaching the semi-finals three times previously.
At the 2017 IAAF World Relays Australia’s men’s 4x100m team and the women’s 4x400m secured their entry to London with both Aussie teams making the final in the Bahamas.
Decathlete Cedric Dubler (Qld) also finds himself London-bound after his performance at the 2016 Australian Championships granted him entry on the team.
Patrick Tiernan (Qld) clocked 27:29.81 in the 10,000m at the Payton Jordan Invitational to highlight the 10,000m starter's continuing form.
Rhydian Cowley (Vic) will compete in the men’s 20km walk, Chris Erickson (Vic) will tackle the 50km walk, while Regan Lamble (Vic) and Beki Smith (ACT) line up for the women’s 20km walk events.
Eloise Wellings (NSW) has her ticket to London booked when her Rio Olympic Games performance of 31:14.94 in the 10,000m ensures her start for the championships.
Other athletes who have gained qualifying marks since the initial team selection include steeplechaser Genevieve LaCaze (Vic) and Olympic 1500m finalist Ryan Gregson (Vic) who both ran the qualifying times at the Doha Diamond League meet earlier this month.
Similarly the Payton Jordan Invitational meet in Palo Alto (USA) was fruitful for Australian distance runners as Sam McEntee (Vic) grabbed the qualifying time in the 5000m, and Madeline Hills (NSW) ran a time of 31:41.10 in the 10,000m to make sure her name was in the mix for a London selection.
Lisa Weightman staked her claim in the women’s marathon, with a scintillating time at the London Marathon of 2:25.15, putting her among the top-3 fastest Australians ever over the distance.
In April, Athletics Australia also confirmed automatic selections for the 2017 World Para-Athletics Championships, with Paralympic Games gold medallists James Turner (NSW) and Scott Reardon (NSW) to join reigning world champions Isis Holt (Vic), Madison de Rozario (WA), Angela Ballard (NSW) and Todd Hodgetts (Vic) on entry lists for London 2017.
The cut-off date for qualification in the able-bodied track and field events is 21 July, while the Australian marathon athletes are set to be decided upon from 22 May, with final selections to be made shortly after.
See the current list of qualified athletes here.