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Running mums to create records as marathoners and racewalkers ready for the roads in Sapporo

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Six marathoners and a racewalker, headlined by Gold Coast 2018 silver medallist Lisa Weightman, have been added to the Australian Olympic Team for the Tokyo Olympics today.

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) have today named Australia’s marathon contingent in Olympic Games which includes two-time Commonwealth Games medallist Lisa Weightman in her fourth Olympic Games, Brett Robinson and two-time Commonwealth Games representative Liam Adams returning for their second Games, with Ellie Pashley, Sinead Diver and Jack Rayner making their Olympic debut, while Gold Coast team member Rhydian Cowley returns for his second Olympics in racewalking.

42-year-old Weightman becomes just the eighth Australian to make four Olympic Games in athletics, joining marathon legends Steve Moneghetti AM, Lisa Ondieki, Rob de Castella and Benita Willis as four-time Olympians.

At 44 years of age, Sinead Diver will become Australia’s oldest ever track and field Olympian, male or female, surpassing three-time Commonwealth Games racewalker Willi Sawall who competed in Los Angeles in 1984 at 43.

Weightman will become the second oldest female, behind Diver, with both older than Sydney Olympic marathoner Susan Hobson who was 42 at the Sydney Games.

Diver is a mother of two, 10-year-old son Eddie, and six-year daughter Dara, whilst Weightman is mum to six-year-old Peter.

Weightman told the AOC becoming a four-time Olympian felt like a dream.

“To join stars of our sport like Lisa Ondieki in being selected for a fourth Olympic marathon is a dream come true,” Weightman said.

“I am extremely proud to have created this opportunity and with everything on my plate, with full-time work, a mum in lockdown and an athlete, I’ve certainly built up the resilience I need to run my best in Sapporo.

“I know every athlete who lines up on the start line in Sapporo has moved mountains to get there – that start line will be a very special place. For me this journey has been one which has only been made possible by my family who have supported me every step of the way.

“Leaving my son at home with my family is the toughest part of the campaign. Family is everything, and I’m expecting to feel very emotional on the start line in Sapporo as I know they will be at home in Australia running it with me.

“I’ve had only two race opportunities in 2020-21 due to the Victorian lockdown.  The first was to qualify in Osaka and the second was to run the fastest 10k on Australian soil – a new PB so I can’t complain with my form at 42 – so far I can certainly say that being in your 40s is fabulous!”

Reflecting the recent strength in Australian distance running, it is the third consecutive Games Australia has qualified a full complement of three men and three women marathoners.

Diver, Weightman and Pashley combine as the strongest trio Australia has ever sent to a Games, with all three in the Australian top-8 all time, while Rio 5000m runner Brett Robinson and Olympic debutant Jack Rayner have notched the fastest marathon times by Australian men for over a dozen years.

While 30-year-old racewalker Rhydian Cowley joins Gold Coast gold medallists Dane Bird-Smith and Jemima Montag, who were both selected for the Australian Olympic Team in the 20km racewalk in August 2020.

“It’s a great feeling to finally be selected,” Cowley said.

“It’s going to be a really satisfying to line up in Sapporo and pay off for five years of hard work since Rio.

“It will be a relief to get there, and know that we’ve made it despite everything, but the job isn’t over. We need to follow all the COVID restrictions and stay safe so we can get to the start line.”

GOLD COAST STARS BOOK ATHLETICS TICKET TO TOKYO

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has formally added 15 members to its athletics team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, including 11 Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games team members.

Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman congratulated the athletes on their selection.

“Today is a fantastic milestone for these seven athletes on their road to Tokyo,” Mr Chesterman said.

“It’s been a long road to get to Tokyo, but these athletes know all about pushing onto the finish line. Today’s selection is a great reward for years and years of toil in one of the toughest disciplines.

“Congratulations also to all the coaching and support staff who have helped them reach this Olympic milestone.

“I also want to highlight Lisa’s achievement. Making a single Games is a phenomenal achievement, but in making a fourth Games Lisa is joining the ranks of Australian marathon legends in a special feat.”

The Marathoners and racewalkers will take to the road in Sapporo, with the northern city hosting the distance events to mitigate the heat expected in Tokyo. The women will take to the 42.1km course in Odori Park on 7 August, with the men’s race the final day of competition on 8 August, with the men’s 50km racewalk on 6 August.

Today’s selection brings the number of selected athletes in the Australian Olympic Team to 143 of an expected 450-480, this number includes 56 Commonwealth Games Australia Alumni members set to compete in Tokyo.

Current Australian Olympic Athletics Team (as at 4 June 2021):

Name Events Age State Olympic Experience Commonwealth Games Experience
Liam Adams Marathon 34 VIC 2nd (2016) 2014 – Marathon - 7th; 2018 – Marathon - 5th
Kelsey-Lee Barber Javelin 26 ACT (South Africa) 2nd (2016) 2014 – Javelin - Bronze; 2018 – Javelin - Silver
Dane Bird-Smith 20km walk 28 QLD 2nd (2016 - 20km walk - bronze) 2018 – 20km Walk - Gold
Catriona Bisset 800m 27 NSW Debut
Rohan Browning 100m 23 NSW Debut 2018 – 100m - Semi-Final; 4x100m Relay - 4th
Liz Clay 100m hurdles 25 NSW Debut
Rhydian Cowley 50km walk 30 VIC 2nd (2016) 2018 – 20km Walk - 11th
Riley Day 200m 21 QLD Debut 2018 – 200m - Semi-Final; 4x100m Relay - DQ
Sinéad Diver Marathon 44 VIC Debut
Cedric Dubler Decathlon 26 QLD 2nd (2016) 2018 – Decathlon - Bronze
Jye Edwards 1500m 23 NSW Debut
Genevieve Gregson 3000m Steeplechase 31 QLD 3rd (2012, 2016) 2014 – 3000m Steeplechase - 5th; 2018 – 3000m Steeplechase - 5th
Linden Hall 1500m 29 VIC 2nd (2016) 2018 – 1500m - 4th
Jessica Hull 5000m 23 NSW Debut
Nina Kennedy Pole vault 24 WA Debut 2018 – Pole vault - Bronze
Kurtis Marschall Pole vault 23 SA Debut 2018 – Pole vault - Gold
Nicola McDermott High jump 24 NSW Debut 2018 – High jump - Bronze
Stewart McSweyn 5000m, 10000m 23 TAS Debut 2018 – 5000m - 5th; 10000m - 11th
Ash Moloney Decathlon 21 QLD Debut
Jemima Montag 20km walk 22 VIC Debut 2018 – 20km Walk - Gold
Bendere Oboya 400m 21 NSW (Ethiopia) Debut 2018 – 400m - Heats
Ellie Pashley Marathon 32 VIC Debut
Jack Rayner Marathon 25 VIC Debut
Brett Robinson Marathon 30 VIC 2nd (2016)
Dani Stevens Discus 32 NSW 4th (2008, 2012, 2016) 2006 – Discus - Bronze; 2014 – Discus - Gold; 2018 – Discus - Gold
Brooke Stratton Long jump 27 VIC 2nd (2016) 2018 – Long Jump - Silver
Lisa Weightman Marathon 42 VIC 4th (2008, 2012, 2016) 2010 – Marathon - Bronze; 2018 – Marathon - Silver

With thanks Australian Olympic Committee.

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