Australian 100m champion Trae Williams (Qld) will lead the men’s 4x100m relay team into battle at the IAAF World Championships, with Athletics Australia Selectors today confirming a five-athlete squad for London 2017.
To be joined on track by Nicholas Andrews (NSW), Rohan Browning (NSW), Tom Gamble (Qld) and Alex Hartmann (Qld), Williams and his charges are set to continue their championships preparation with competition at the IAAF Diamond League in London (GBR) on 9 July before again taking on the globe at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in August.
Williams, 20, took out his first senior national sprint title at the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships will be making his world championships debut and is thrilled by the prospect of bringing Australia's fastest men to London.
“It’s exciting. The boys have been training very well, we are in good shape, our changes continue to improve and everyone has posted a good time in individual races these past few weeks,” Williams said.
“To compete at the Diamond League against some of the best athletes is the perfect preparation for the World Championships and we can’t wait to get amongst it.
“We had the chance to race before the IAAF World Relays in L.A and I think that set us up for our fourth place then. You have the chance to get over the jet lag, to settle into some training and then you take to the track and race.”
The announcement of the team to duel at the IAAF World Championships follows their superb fourth place performance at the IAAF World Relays earlier this year.
Lining up in heat one of the sprint relay in Nassau (BAH), the green and gold team took to the blocks in lane six. Smooth changes saw them move past Jamaica and Antigua & Barbuda, who did not finish, before surging up the home straight to cross third behind the Netherlands and China in a time of 39.09.
Official results after heat three confirmed Australia’s progression to the final as the fastest non-automatic qualifier, with the team roaring home to cross fourth and narrowly miss a medal in a time of 39.79 behind winners the USA.
“The 4x100m boys were outstanding. They are a young team, working together as a squad for just over a year, and today they’ve been unfazed by the pressure of the environment to ensure their automatic entry to the IAAF World Championships,” Craig Hilliard, Athletics Australia Head Coach, said at the time.
Team Australia will feature on entry lists for the men’s 4x100m relay for the first time at the IAAF World Championships since Moscow 2013 and Williams is confident that the opportunity will provide them with vital experience before a tilt at a medal at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games next year.
“We want to make the final at London 2017. It’s not going to be easy, the teams will be stronger than those we ran against at the World Relays, but we have some of the most seamless changes around. We’re not the quickest team, but our ability to move the baton is second-to-none,” Williams added.
“The chance to compete on the world stage before a home Commonwealth Games is crucial, too. We were the best placed Commonwealth nation at the World Relays and if we are in the shape we are now next April there is no reason we can’t be in the mix for a medal.”
Madeline Hills (NSW) has also been added to Team Australia today, with the Rio 2016 Olympian set to join Eloise Wellings (NSW) in the women's 10,000m.
Hill's selection follows her personal best run of 31:41.10 at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto (USA) to stake her claim for London 2017 and has aspirations for 5000m selection, too, after running the qualification standard of 15:15.18 at the Prefontaine Classic last month.
The sprint relay team will depart Australia on 3 July before competition at the Muller Anniversary Games on 9 July. They will then continue their preparation in Cologne (GER), the European base of Athletics Australia, before descending on the Team Australia Preparation Camp on 22 July.
This preparation has been made possible thanks to the continued support of Commonwealth Games Australia through the Gold Coast GOLD Relay Program.
Adam Larcom will act as Team Coach.
For more information on the IAAF World Championships, including the event timetable and ticketing information, please click here.
IAAF World Championships
4-13 August 2017
200m: Ella Nelson (NSW)
400m: Morgan Mitchell (Vic)
10,000m: Eloise Wellings (NSW), Madeline Hills (NSW)
100m hurdles: Sally Pearson (Qld)
400m hurdles: Lauren Wells (ACT)
Pole Vault: Nina Kennedy (WA)
Discus Throw: Dani Stevens (NSW, nee Samuels)
Javelin: Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT)
20km Walk: Regan Lamble (Vic), Beki Smith (NSW), Rachel Tallent (Vic)
Marathon: Milly Clark (NSW), Sinead Diver (Vic), Jessica Trengove (SA)
10,000m: Patrick Tiernan (Qld)
Long Jump: Fabrice Lapierre (NSW)
Pole Vault: Kurtis Marschall (SA)
Shot Put: Damien Birkinhead (Vic)
Javelin: Hamish Peacock (Tas)
Decathlon: Cedric Dubler (Qld)
20km Walk: Dane Bird-Smith (Qld), Rhydian Cowley (Vic)
50km Walk^: Jared Tallent (SA)
Marathon: Josh Harris (Tas), Jeff Hunt (NSW), Brad Milosevic (NSW)
4x100m Relay: Nicholas Andrews (NSW), Rohan Browning (NSW), Tom Gamble (Qld), Alex Hartmann (Qld), Trae Williams (Qld)
^ Chris Erickson (Vic) has withdrawn from the men’s 50km walk.