John Salvado / AAP News
Gold Coast 2018 decathlon bronze medallist Cedric Dubler has produced a career best performance at the 2022 Athletics Australia Track and Field National Championships.
An emotional Cedric Dubler feared he had nothing left to give when he stepped up to the start-line for the concluding 1500m event in the decathlon at the Australian championships.
But with world championships and Commonwealth Games qualification on the line and a personal best in the offing on Saturday night, the Gold Coast 2018 bronze medallist dug deep.
A gutsy second-placed finish in four minutes 37.48 seconds was enough for Dubler, whose overall winning tally of 8393 points bettered his previous personal best of 8367.
It also meant he joined Olympic high jump silver medallist Nicola McDermott, pole vaulter Kurtis Marschall, Catriona Bisset and Peter Bol (both 800m), 100m hurdler Liz Clay and Jessica Hull (5000m) in qualifying for the world titles in Oregon in July and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Dubler is best known to the wider Australian sporting public as the man who cajoled his training partner Ash Moloney to the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
But the Queenslander is also a world-class decathlete in his own right, as he proved again at Sydney Olympic Park.
“This has been a long two days of competition, as I always say, and an emotional rollercoaster, as I always say, but each competition we do is unique,” said the 27-year-old.
“I really didn’t know what I was going to do in that 1500m because I came in with an empty tank.
“I’m just so incredibly happy that I was able to lift and get that result and get that automatic selection.
“It’s just a massive relief.”
Competing for the first time since early September, McDermott didn’t miss a beat in claiming another national title with 1.94m.
“It’s about trying to get the intensity when I don’t have a competitor there,” said McDermott.
“Sometimes I like to have a few competitions to get used to it.
“But the joy of jumping is still so present and it hasn’t been lost over the years and now that I’ve got a title I’m hungry for more.”
McDermott’s victory came in the absence of her great domestic rival Eleanor Patterson, who was a late withdrawal due to a foot complaint.
After missing his first two attempts at a modest opening height of 5.40m, Marschall feared he would no-height, just as he did at last year’s national titles and in the Tokyo Olympics final.
But the reigning Commonwealth champion gritted his teeth to record successful clearances at 5.40m and 5.60m.
Clay’s winning time of 12.72 in the 100m hurdles was just one hundredth of a second outside the PB she set in the Tokyo Olympics semi-final.
She reckons she can get that mark down to 12.5 by the time the major championships roll around later in the year.
Bol and Bisset recorded commanding 800m victories on Saturday, while Hull was pushed hard by Rose Davies before winning the women’s 5000m gold in 15:06.13.
Davies (15:07.49) also dipped under the qualifying mark of 15:10.
Ella Connolly completed the national 100m-200m sprint double as the first Australian home in the women’s half-lap final in 23.37.
Teenager Aidan Murphy won the men’s 200m in 20.53 and Jake Doran claimed the silver, a day after winning his first national 100m crown.