Thursday, September 21, 2023

Melbourne meets, Bendere Oboya, Geneviève Gregson times

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It seems in athletics as in life, and Australian weather for that matter, that when it rains, it rains.

Last night at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne a whole new name entered the world of 1500m Olympic hopefuls when Canberra’s Jye Edwards stormed home and raced to win the Melbourne Track Classic 1500m in astonishing fashion. .

He missed Olympic qualifying for a few seconds, but the way he performed the task and did it without a pacemaker to help him was both commendable and indicative of things to come.

“I felt good and I’m just ready to run fast,” he said, standing up. “Next Thursday we can give that Olympic qualifying time a real chance, but is the man crowded up there for selection now.”

“I doubt Australia has ever had so many men in the 1500m who all run so fast.”

Indeed. And to be honest, only the global force in this event that is Kenya can boast of the depth of talent Australia currently has. It is really quite astonishing.

Edwards last night ran 3.39. With someone dragging the pitch on the first 1000m in, say, 2.21, he would have roughly run the Olympic qualifying time of 3.35, a time already achieved by three Australian athletes, including Oli Hoare, who has shocked the world when he ran 3.32 indoors in New York. a month ago.

That night he had pacemakers and men determined to run a time. Edwards, 23, didn’t, coming from behind the leaders in a tactical race adding more credit to his performance.

Stewart McSweyne (3:31) and Matt Ramsden (3:34) are the other two to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in this event.

Australia can only take three, and this is where life gets tricky.

The winner of the Australian Championship, in a few weeks, is automatically selected to the squad if he runs the qualifying time of 3:35. That means if Edwards can beat a victory at the Nationals, in 3.35 or better, he’s going. And Hoare does NOT participate in national championships.

“I know the equation and this race next Thursday is going to say a lot about everyone’s situation,” said Edwards who was invited to run this 1500m at Box Hill, a sanctioned 1500m, where all runners will be aiming for the qualifying time.

There will be a pacemaker and it will be a very hot field that will include not only Edwards but also McSweyne and Ramsden and our former Australian 1500m rep Ryan Gregson.

But not Hoare who is in the United States.

It is the benchmark race of the year.

Last night in the women’s 1500m, Gregson’s gifted wife Geneviève Gregson ran a stunning tactical race to record her second fastest time in the 1500m. She stopped the stopwatch in 4.10.

This is not her event and she is already on the plane to Tokyo, where she will travel as captain of the track team.

Her event is the 3000m steeplechase and although she would like to overtake in Tokyo, she cannot. “The race calendar does not allow the 1500m and 3000m steeplechase to be run by one person. But to say that, running that fast over 1500m is a good sign of where I am and I am very happy with the effort.”

Then it should be.

She sat behind the speed and played this cat and mouse game before unleashing a powerful finishing flurry from the 150m mark, running away and missing her lifetime PB by just 1 second.

She’s racing in Brisbane on Saturday night in the last Track Classic of the year before the Nationals, in her pet race and she is expected to dominate her.

World-class sprinter Bendere Oboya maintained her incredible winning streak against the Australians, winning the 400m last night in 53.04sec, but that was no surprise as she came out hoping to run a first world-leading 300m and he not much was left in his legs. over the last 50 meters. Two weeks ago, she ran 51.61 seconds, which ranks her among the top three in the world for performances played so far this year.

“I felt very heavy in the race at home, but now I’m going to go to Brisbane and run another race on Saturday. I just need and want to compete as much as possible because as an athlete you just improve more in competition “. she reasoned.

One of the biggest runs of the night by dint of world standards was achieved by 400m hurdles, Chris Douglas, who clocked a stand-up and take-notice time of 49.70 seconds.

It was not an automatic Olympic qualifier, which lasts 48.90 seconds, but when you look at it in perspective, it is closer to a podium at the Games than others who have qualified in other events.

And it seems to go faster because the track was not conducive to super fast times last night.

On the pitch, Commonwealth Games silver medalist for Australia, Matt Denny, returned to completion after some time with horror injuries registering a victory in the discussion. He needs a 66m lift to be part of the squad and last night he threw 60.56m which shows he is close to the mark.

The action heads to Brisbane on Saturday night and it has drawn virtually all of Australia’s top athletes who are all keen to peak at this competition and the national championships.

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