Ballarat sprinter Joel Bee grabs 400m at Zatopek
BY MELANIE WHELAN
11 Dec, 2011
JOEL Bee says he is “more than happy” with his 400-metre win at the Zatopek – it has also left him more determined than ever to break into the Australian Olympic qualifying trials.
The Ballarat sprinter crossed the line in 47.63 seconds, a fraction over the 47-second standard to contest the nationals.
He did so in wet weather, which slowed racing on Saturday night at Athletics Victoria’s new Lakeside Stadium base at Albert Park.
Bee, trained by Ballarat’s Paul Cleary, will enter training over the Christmas/New Year period before continuing his quest to reach the selection trials.
To get there, Bee must hunt a qualifying time at upcoming Athletics Australia or Athletics Victoria events and he will take time this Christmas to plot his next move.
Bee told The Courier he had recovered well yesterday, despite struggling to get back on his feet post-race.
“I was in all-sorts when I finished...I had gone out pretty hard in the race,” Bee said.
“Conditions were not ideal, but I’m more than happy with the win, even though I didn’t get the time.”
Bee went out hard in the first 200m and kicked off to take a 15m lead down the home straight.
His powerful start took its toll nearing the finish but it was enough to hold out fellow Victorians Jarryd Buchan (47.98) and Alexander Carew (48.72).
The field included 2010 Stawell Gift winner Tom Burbidge and experienced 400m runner Andrew Boudrie.
Bee thanked the Ballarat community for its support in his first season race.
Ben St Lawrence, training partner of Ballarat Olympian Collis Birmingham, went a long way towards booking his spot on the London Olympics team by successfully defending his Australian 10,000m title in the Zatopek:10 feature race.
St Lawrence was fourth across the line behind a trio of Kenyans in a time of 28 minutes, 01.68 seconds.
He was unable to better the A-qualifying standard of 27:45 but having already bettered the mark with an Australian record of 27:24.95 in California in May, he is all but assured of a race in London.
Fellow countryman Craig Mottram fell off the pace with 15 laps narrowly avoided being lapped to finish seventh in 28:52.20.
Ballarat-trained Ben Toomey was 19th in a time of 31:10.01.
Kenyans dominanted the women’s 10,000m but Emily Brichacek claimed the national title as the first Australian home in third spot in 33:02.55.
In other action, five-time national 100m champion Joshua Ross took another step in his comeback by winning the men’s 100 yards in 9.79 seconds.
World champion Dani Samuels won the women’s discus with 59.10m.
And Jana Pittman ensured there was a much bigger focus than usual on the Victorian championships 4x400m relay final.
Ballarat junior Jesse Fullerton was runner-up in the boy’s under-15 1500m, clocking a time of 4:09.67.
OTHER BALLARAT RESULTS: Matthew Blood 12th, men’s under-20 B 3000m (9:39.27); Jack Davies 10th, men’s under-20 A 3000m (8:35.50); Courtney Scott 9th, women’s under-20 3000m (9:53.79); Rachel Waters 7th, girls’ under-15 1500m (4:57.43); Sarah Waters 16th, women’s under-20 3000m (10:26.90).