John Salvado / AAP News
The 2022 season is shaping to be a massive year for hurdling star Liz Clay as she takes aim at three major events including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
For Australia’s leading sprint hurdler Liz Clay, the timing of her indoor racing debut could hardly be better.
Fresh off a career-best year when she set a personal best on her Olympic debut and just missed out on a berth in the Tokyo Games final, the Queenslander is targeting three major championships in 2022.
First on the agenda is the March 18-20 world indoor championships in Belgrade, with the world outdoor championships in Eugene, Oregon and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games looming on the horizon.
Clay, 26, will get a good gauge on her form in Saturday’s Sydney Track Classic against a stacked 100m hurdles field including countrywomen Michelle Jenneke, Celeste Mucci and Abbie Taddeo.
Then the focus will shift quickly to the 60m hurdles at the world indoors in the Serbian capital.
“I’ve trained indoors before but I’ve never raced there,” she told AAP.
“It’s the same first five hurdles (as for the 100m race); it’s just that there’s a bit of a hill and a mat at the end.
“I’ve been at some pretty cool outdoor meets where the atmosphere has been great, but I’ve heard that the energy is amazing in the indoor stadiums like Belgrade.
“I’m just super-excited.
“We know that if I get it right, the first five hurdles are the strongest part of my race so it suits me really well.”
Clay made an impressive Olympic debut last year in Tokyo.
She set a personal best of 12.71 seconds in the semi-finals, only to miss out on a spot in the final by four hundredths of a second.
“I really needed something that was quite important early on in 2022 to get me into gear for the rest of the year,” said Clay, who sits second on the Australian 100m hurdles all-time list behind only Olympic and world champion Sally Pearson OAM.
“Coming back from the highs of Tokyo has been difficult and if I didn’t have this major competition coming up so soon I would have gone about my training a little more relaxed.
“I would love to have been in the final in Tokyo and I knew I was good enough to be there but it just wasn’t meant to be this time.
“Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise to keep me working just that little bit harder ahead of the 2024 Olympics in Paris.”