Australian champion Hollingsworth named CGA Emerging Athlete


By Josh Squire

Claudia Hollingsworth has cemented herself as a force to be reckoned with in Australian middle-distance, beating the best in the country to claim her first national 800m title and earn the nod as the Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) Emerging Athlete of the Month for April. 

Competing as part of a golden era for domestic middle-distance running, there was no bigger event at the 2024 Australian Athletics Championships than the women’s two-lap tussle.  

Featuring four Commonwealth Games athletes, Hollingsworth was the newcomer to the start line, but didn’t let the moment overwhelm her.  

Turning 19 on the day of the heats, Hollingsworth entered the competition as the youngest of a stacked field and delivered herself the perfect birthday present – a heat-winning time of 2:06.72 and an automatic spot in the final.  

The fastest time was set by Gold Coast 2018 charge, Bendere Oboya, with Australian 800m national record holder Catriona Bisset and Birmingham 2022 bronze medallist Abbey Caldwell hot on her heels with the fourth and fifth placed times respectively.  

A tantalising matchup was set. 

The four key players were all together at the front with a lap to go and remained that way until Hollingsworth took control on the home straight.  

Hitting the bend in fourth, she split the pack and picked off Oboya and Bisset before striding past Caldwell at the 50-metres-to-go mark to claim the crown. 

Hollingsworth’s time of 1:58.40 scorched the Olympic qualifying mark of 1:59.30, which she had already bettered a month earlier at the Canberra Track Classic.  

Hollingsworth was named as one of the 14 initial members of the Paris 2024 Australian athletics team at the conclusion of the Championships, which she says is her proudest moment to date. 

“[It’s] a huge achievement that I am so proud of and [I’m] so grateful for the opportunity to represent Australia.” 

This year’s Olympic Games won’t be her first major international outing.  

In 2022, she represented Australia at both the World Under 20 Championships in Cali, Colombia and the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA.  

Despite unfavourable results at both competitions – including a disqualification at the U20 Championships despite finishing second in her semi-final race – Hollingsworth didn’t leave without learning a lot as a 17-year-old. 

“Both these championships built my strength and resilience. I learnt really valuable lessons which have helped me become stronger as an athlete and a more confident and resilient racer.” 

Currently under the tutelage of Commonwealth Games silver medallist Craig Mottram, Hollingsworth was glowing of the role that her coach has played in her development. 

“Craig is an amazing coach and mentor, who believes in my ability and helps me to feel confident in my training and strength,” Hollingsworth said. 

“I am so lucky to have Craig as my coach.” 



Adding the Emerging Athlete of the Month award to her quickly growing list of achievements, Hollingsworth says that the recognition of her hard work by CGA is something she is “so grateful” for. 

“This is an honour as the talent in Australia is so amazing and I am so proud,” she added. 

As the Olympics creep closer, the rising star wants to prove that she can match it with the best on the world stage. Qualification times met and tickets secured means that the major hurdles on the way to Paris have been cleared.  

Now able to narrow her focus, her goals for the short-term future are simple – compete well at the Olympics! 

The Commonwealth Games serves as a platform for developing the future stars of Australian sport and theEmerging Athlete of the Yearforms part of a refreshed Awards and Honours program developed by the CGA Heritage and Awards Committee. 

The CGA Emerging Athlete of the Year Award celebrates the next generation of Australian sport stars and those that may make an impact for Australia at major sport events in the future. 

Over the course of 2024, an athlete will be recognised each month as the Emerging Athlete of the Month and will receive a $500 contribution towards their training and competition expenses. 

Three finalists from the monthly winners will then split a $7000 cash prize, with the winner receiving $5000 and the two runners-up $1000 respectively. 



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