Image: Steve Christo / Athletics Australia
Racewalkers Jemima Montag and Kyle Swan have taken out the 10,000m events at the Australian Track and Field Championships and now look ahead to the Birmingham Games.
Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist Jemima Montag and Tokyo Olympian Kyle Swan have all but booked their tickets to Birmingham after securing automatic nomination for the Commonwealth Games team at the 2022 Chemist Warehouse Australian Track and Field Championships.
Montag won the Australian women’s 10,000m race walk title in a swift 43:02.97 – comfortably under the qualifying standard for Birmingham and is now set to defend her gold medal this August.
She also became the first Australian track and field athlete to be nominated to Commonwealth Games Australia for the UK campaign.
The 24-year-old medical student was tactical in her approach, staying tucked up behind eventual silver and bronze medal winners Katie Hayward (44:28.80) and Rebecca Henderson (44:40.09), but with 13 laps to go, Montag made a gutsy move to push past the duo to make a bid for nomination.
Winning by daylight, Montag crossed the line in a meet record of 43:02.97, in front of Henderson and Hayward.
Hayward too met the qualifying standard for Birmingham.
“It feels really good to tick off this business trip and get the win to go to Birmingham. I’ve now got a few months to really knuckle down and concentrate on training,” Montag said.
“Four years ago, I had a special moment on the Gold Coast, and it was a turning point in my walking career in terms of self-belief and what I’ve dreamt could be possible, so it feels exciting that we are maybe one step closer to reliving that,” Montag said.
Though Swan wasn’t able to dip under the qualifying standard of 39:30.00 tonight, a previous qualifying time coupled with the 2022 Australian 10,000m race walk title will guarantee his spot on the Australian team.
Swan, the favourite to win the title tonight, commanded the event, finishing in 39:55.17 and one minute and 21 seconds in front of second-place getter 19-year-old Will Thompson (41:17.05) and New Zealand’s Quentin Rew (41:46.41).
“I’m really happy with that tonight. I got the auto qualifying time back in January and have cemented that in tonight,” Swan said.
“It was windy out there, so not great conditions, but I’m happy with my form. It’s going to be a really long season and I’ve got to make sure I’m healthy when I get to the start line in August.”
Kyle Swan has taken the men’s 10,000m race walk at the Australian Track and Field Championships. (Image: Steve Christo / Athletics Australia)
Olivia Sandery won the Women’s Under 20 10,000m race walk in 45:28.96 to set a new meet record to secure her place on the Australian Under 20 team heading to the Cali 2022 World Athletics Under 20 Championships. Fraser Saunder won the men’s event in 47:15.49.
Emerging middle-distance talent Laura Roderick too punched her ticket to the World Athletics Under 20 Championships with a gutsy win in the Under 20 Women’s 5000m bout, blowing the field away to lead from gun to tape. Roderick’s personal best of 16:16.11 in February qualified the 17-year-old for the Championships, with her win securing automatic selection.
In other results this evening, Australia’s athletes reacquainted themselves with Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre in the heats and qualifiers.
Oliver Hoare marked his presence on home soil, after returning from the USA with a statement win in heat one of the Men’s Open 1500m, looking smooth when coasting to victory in 3:41.91 to assert himself as the man to beat in the final.
Matthew Ramsden, who arrived back in Australia after the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade last week, won the second heat in a swift, 3:43.12.
In the Women’s Open 1500m it was Linden Hall who stamped her authority on heat one with a dominant win in 4:19.36 upon her return to Australia, after finishing in sixth place in Belgrade. Hall will take on fellow Tokyo Olympian and Gold Coast 2018 team member Georgia Griffith and 2021 national silver medallist Abbey Caldwell.
Alexandra Hulley had no troubles advancing to the national hammer throw final when launching the hammer 62.49m on her first attempt, with Stephanie Ratcliffe the only athlete to pose a threat with her 61.42m.
With thanks Athletics Australia.