Young sprinter in running for Olympic relay team
by BRAD FORREST
St George & Sutherland Leader
23 Feb, 2012
LITTLE known Illawong Athletics Club track sprinter Jake Hammond (in blue) has emerged as a bolter for a berth in the Australian 4x100-metres relay team for the London Olympics.
At the weekend’s Sydney Track Classic at Olympic Park, the 20-year-old Hammond finished sixth in a hugely competitive 100-metre final where the first six placegetters were separated by just .09 seconds.
With at least five runners expected to be chosen for London, Hammond’s coach Michael Dooley says the youngster is ‘‘right in it’’ with the Olympic national trials in Melbourne less than two weeks away.
‘‘Jake is going well,’’ Dooley said.
‘‘He has run as fast as 10.38 (illegal wind assistance) on the Australian track tour this summer.
‘‘This state has the best 100metres runners, so we’re now hoping he can move up a few spots with a good run at the [Olympic] trials and really press his claims for a [100metres] relay team berth.’’
Hammond, who finished equal fourth Australian at last year’s nationals titles, ran 10.72sec in a race affected by a sizeable headwind.
He also finished seventh in the 200m final.. His best legal-run has been 10.51sec this season, with another 10.42sec time with illegal wind assistance.
‘‘I’m beating guys in training who’ve run 10.2, so I just have to put it together in a race,’’ Hammond said yesterday. ‘‘I’m excited about my prospects.’’
Dooley’s young female sprint star Ella Nelson, 17, is also aiming to make her second trip to the World Junior Championships in Barcelona in July. She also represented as a 15-year-old.
The fellow Illawong AC youngster struggled under the glare of the open women’s 200 metre final on Saturday, won by world champion Sally Pearson, but Dooley is confident she can get down to the 24.12 sec qualifying time for Barcelona.
‘‘She ran a better race at the recent NSW Youth title, running 24.27, so we’ve got some time to qualify her.’’
Other locals to perform well at the Sydney Track Classic included Bridey Delaney, second in the women’s open 1500 metres in 4min 12.92sec and Youcef Abdi, second in the open 3000m steeplechase in 8min 22.01sec and James Nipperess, fourth in 8min 39.03sec.