Lewis Headline Briggs Classic - Preview
By Chris Wainwright
February 17, 2011
This Sunday marks the return to the spotlight for two very talented athletes, Jeff Riseley and Tamsyn Lewis. Both athletes will be returning to their favoured events at the Briggs Track Classic in Hobart, with Riseley commencing his 2011 year in the men's 1500m while Lewis returns to an event she dominated for almost a decade in Australia - the women's 800m.
Riseley had a testing year in 2010, missing the Commonwealth Games due to injury. This was just after the 24 year-old had closed in on the Australian record in 2009, with a 3.32.93 personal best in Rome. The performance briefly placed Riseley at no.2 on the Australian all-time ranking list, before Ryan Gregson's 3.31.06 Australian record in 2010. Riseley returns to the track looking at getting back to being the no.1 1500m runner in Australia, although this has been made a little easier with Gregson currently forced to the sidelines with injury. In Hobart however he will still have quality opposition in the form of Americans Nick Symmonds and Tyler Mulder and Australia's top 1500m runners, Nick Toohey, James Kaan and Brenton Rowe. Add to the mix the likes of juniors Brett Robinson, Jordan Williamsz, Alex Rowe, Kane Grimster and Josh Wright and you end up with a very interesting race.
19 year-old Robinson has been in outstanding form over the past 6 months, and will be looking at improving on his PB of 3.42.37 in Hobart. The World Junior 1500m finalist in 2010 also ran an excellent 8.04.22 3000m at the Zatopek Classic last December, and will be hoping that the likes of Riseley and Toohey can force a quick pace on Sunday afternoon. If this is the case, and conditions are good, then he could easily break the magical 3.40.00 mark that many middle distance athletes aim for.
Toohey is considered by many as being the find of the 2011 season so far, with th 22 year-old Queenslander now expected to make the next step and also push the 3.40.00 barrier aside. Early season form, including a 3.40.41 1500m at the Zatopek Classic, points to an excellent 2011 for Toohey - although Hobart will be yet another test that many will be hoping he can pass with flying colors.
Athlete State Born PB
Jeff Riseley VIC 1986 3.32.93
Youcef Abdi NSW 1977 3.36.35 (2002)
Paul Hoffman NSW 1982 3.39.63 (2005)
Brenton Rowe VIC 1987 3.39.68
Nick Symmonds USA 1983 3.40.33
Nick Toohey QLD 1988 3.40.41
James Kaan NSW 1990 3.40.80
Brett Robinson ACT 1991 3.42.37
Lewis Commences Path to London
While many people believe that Lewis is past her best over the two laps, there is a self belief that can't be denied. In Hobart it will be fantastic to see the 32 year-old Victorian back running the 800m, and event she won the World Indoor title in 2008, with her best of 1.59.21 being the second fastest time ever run by an Australian. The problem is that Lewis will need to be close to that time just to make the World Championships in South Korea ("A" qualifier = 1.59.80). Although Lewis won't be required to produce a sub 2 minute 800m on Sunday, there will be great competition from the next generation of 800m runners.
(above) Noack and Katsanevakis -
two athletes to watch in the women's 800m
Leading the chasing pack will be the likes of Katherine Katsanevakis (PB 2.02.89), Sianne Toemoe (2.03.94) and Holly Noack (2.04.16). 27 year-old Noack has already shown good early season form, recently producing a 2.03.01 performance in a mixed race in Perth, and could be the one to watch in the race. Katsanevakis on the other hand has commenced 2011 with an 'easy' 2.06 run at an interclub meeting in Melbourne - also in a mixed race.
The depth of the race is such that Kelly Hetherington 'only' ranks 9th on personal best times - at 2.05.25, but will be yet another athlete to keep a close eye on after her quality win at the Hunter Track Classic.
Other Athletes to Watch Out For.....
•Henry Frayne (men's Triple Jump) - looks to be in great form after an impressive 7.98m long jump in Brisbane. Is the Australian junior record holder in the triple jump (16.63m) and will again be looking for a 16.50m+ jump in Hobart.
•Matt Davies (men's 200m) - has returned to good form in 2011, and is just starting to look like his back to his best. Should go sub 21.00sec in Hobart, and watch out for improved form later on in the season.
•Sally Pearson (women's sprints) - clearly the top ranked sprinter in Australian in 2011. Has talked about the Australian record in the 100m (11.12sec) and wouldn't surprise if she broke it later on in the year. Hobart is usually sprinter friendly, so expect another top quality performance from Pearson on Sunday - maybe 11.30/22.90 double!
•Another highlight of the afternoon will be the men's 5000m, with Ben St.Lawrence and David McNeill going head to head. Although St.Lawrence looks to have McNeill covered in this particular race, the winning time will be of great interest. With the "A" qualifier for the World Championships set at 13:20.00, will St.Lawrence attempt the mark in Hobart or leave his best until the Melbourne Track Classic on the 3rd of March, only time will tell.
•Finally Lauren Boden attempts to kick start her 2011 season off with a quality 400m hurdles performance. Ran 57.33sec in Canberra on a windy day last week, so looks to be in good form entering Hobart. Takes on no less than six junior athletes, with four athletes fighting for spots on the Australian team for the upcoming World Youth Championships - Chloe Jamieson, Sarah Carli, Tatum Shaw and Tessa Consedine. Jamieson has a best of 59.66sec set back in 2009, and could be the one to keep a close eye on over the coming years.
There will be many further highlights from the meeting, so stay tuned for a full wrap up of the second AA Tour event for 2011 - next stop the Melbourne Track Classic on March 3rd.
Click the link below for full Briggs Track Classic Statistics - detailed athlete statistics not found on any other website.