The stellar start to 2017 for Michael Roeger (SA) has continued, with the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games bronze medallist clocking 14:14.91 in the men’s 5000m at the SUMMERofATHS Grand Prix to smash the T46 ambulant world record.
Delivering the result only weeks after he ran 3:46.51 to better the 1500m mark in Sydney (NSW), the performance by Roeger, who was born with a limb deficiency in his right arm, credits the result to consistency as he eyes further success at the World Para-Athletics Championships in July.
“I haven’t run like that since the world championships in 2013, I knew I was in good shape but to pull it off is amazing. I’m so happy, especially after such a big run in the 1500m a few weeks ago too. This comes down to consistency. I haven’t missed a session for about 18 months now, I’ve come out tonight and opened my 5000m season with a PB and have to keep the momentum from here,” Roeger said.
“My results will mean nothing if I don’t win a gold medal on the world stage and that’s what I’m after in London this year. I’m confident that I’m progressing and it’s about continuing to improve through to race day over there.”
Lauren Wells (ACT) and Morgan Mitchell (Vic) also shone on track, with the duo clocking times quicker than that qualifying standard for the IAAF World Championships in the women’s 400m hurdles and women’s 400m respectively.
Stopping the clock at 55.97, Wells’ result ensures her maiden claim for selection to the green and gold contingent for London 2017 as she chases an outstanding tenth national title at the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships later this month.
“I’m just so relieved to be honest. My coach and I thought the time was possible tonight, we just had to bring the race together, and to do it in front of my home crowd is great,” Well said.
“I’ve been working on my flat speed all year, have run a 200m PB and my fastest time over 400m in five years, so it’s good to see that translate to the hurdles. It’s really exciting.”
“The pressure is off now. The next challenge is to wrap up my 10th national title in the 400m hurdles, consolidate my selection for London and then build. I feel like I’ve got so much more to give and that’s a promising thing.”
Mitchell clocked 51.66 to defeat Olivia Tauro (NSW, second, 53.20) and Caitlin Jones (Qld, third, 53.90) in the women’s one lap race.
Her fastest ever time on Australian soil, the time is her third fastest ever and comes after her outstanding contribution to the results of Team Australia at Coles Nitro Athletics Melbourne.
“It’s great to get another qualifier out. It’s a good feeling. My coach has wanted me to run like that for such a long time and now I can go back to him and say I got it done. I’ve had a rough few weeks, and to bring it together tonight for the qualifier is amazing.
“I just had to stay calm out there. I practice coming home hard in training and the speed is there. Once I hit that 200m mark I knew I was almost home and it’s all about getting it done. It can be hell with the lactic, but my coach said to relax and do what he knows I can. It looks like he was right.”
Equally impressive on track were Yoshihide Kiryu (JPN) and Ryota Yamagata (JPN), with the fast-paced Japanese duo clocking 10.04 (w: +1.4) and 10.06 (w: +1.3) in the men’s 100m ‘C Final’ and ‘B Final’ respectively to become the two fastest ever men to compete at the AIS Track and Field Centre.
The duo returned to the track for the ‘A Final’ shortly after, with Yamagata edging out his compatriot to win in 10.08 (w: -0.1) from Kiryu (second, 10.19) and Joseph Millar (NZL, third, 10.24). Josh Clarke (NSW) placed 4th in a time of 10.32.
Rounding out the list of athletes adding IAAF World Championships qualifiers to their 2017 resume was Dani Stevens (nee Samuels NSW) with a throw of 64.79m to win the women’s discus throw. The result is her second qualifier in as many weeks after she threw 66.78m at the New South Wales Athletics Championships.
Not to be outdone in the women’s 800m was 15-year-old Keely Small (ACT), who with her time of 2:01.46 smashed the Australian under 18 record of Georgie Clarke.
Ensuring her victory from Lora Storey (NSW, second, 2:01.90) and Georgia Griffith (Vic, third, 2:02.09), Small’s time improved her personal best by more than three seconds and strengthens her claim for nomination to compete at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau (BAH).
She will next compete at the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships, lining up in the girl’s under 18 800m.
The SUMMERofATHS Grand Prix continues at the AIS Track and Field Centre tomorrow, with Ella Nelson (NSW) set to take to the start line for the women’s 200m. Linden Hall (Vic) will start in the women’s 1500m, while the men’s javelin welcomes Hamish Peacock (Tas).