Wroe in need of speed
By Luke Pentony
Updated April 13, 2012 18:36:51
Speed focus ... Sean Wroe Photo: Speed focus ... Sean Wroe (Getty Images: Cameron Spencer, File photo)
Two-time national 400 metres champion Sean Wroe says the need for speed work is why he has chosen not to run his preferred event at the Australian Athletics Championships in Melbourne.
Audio: Interview: Sean Wroe (ABC News)
Wroe instead will compete in the 200m on Sunday at Lakeside Stadium, having opted not to contest for the national crown over the one lap, which he won in the 2006/07 and 2008/09 seasons.
The 27-year-old has been in the midst of a heavy training block since last month's Olympic selection trials in Melbourne, focussing more on building an aerobic base ahead of competing overseas in the coming months.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist says he has "no expectations" about how he will perform at the national titles, as he is treating it more as a training exercise.
"The 200 this weekend is just to see where my speed is at with no speed training in the legs, so it's just a test to see where I'm at in terms of my speed," Wroe told Grandstand.
Wroe is yet to dip under either the A (45.30) or B (45.93) qualifying times since the qualification window opened last year, although his cause was not helped by an Achilles tendon injury during the recent domestic season.
He ran a season best of 46.38 in the heats at the Olympic selection trials before finishing fourth (46.74) in the final, which was won by a rejuvenated John Steffensen.
Wroe, who made the semi-finals at the Beijing Olympics and has twice reached the same stage at the world championships (2007, 2009), is still confident he can snare an A qualifier before the selection cut-off date of June 11.
"It's my dream obviously to go to a second Olympics to compete in the individual event," he said.
"It would be amazing if I went as just a relay runner but obviously we do track and field for the individual event, so I truly believe 45.30 is achievable.
"My body's done it before, so it's a mark that should be achievable and I'm looking forward to getting to that kind of pace hopefully very soon."
As Wroe points out running under 45.30 is not foreign to him, as he has a personal best of 45.07 posted back in 2009.
The Melbourne-based athlete is renowned for attacking from the gun and he feels it his performance in the home straight that has prevented him from breaking the revered 45-second barrier.
"I think it is probably the backend of my race," he said.
"I've always been naturally able to keep up for the first 300, I just kind of tend to fade a little bit in the last 50.
"I think if I just kind of focus on that backend I'll definitely dip under and I guess to run that 44 I'll have run the perfect race and hopefully, all things provided, I can do it when it counts at the Olympic Games."
Aside from Wroe, Australia is blessed with a degree of depth in the men's 400m, despite the fact no athlete is yet to run an A qualifier.
Steffensen and fellow Western Australian Ben Offereins are both sub 45-second runners and reigning national champion Steven Solomon is among the best teenagers in the world, having run 45.58 as a 17-year-old.
Wroe is adamant Australia can contend for a medal in the 4x400m relay in London should a team be selected, as he, Steffensen and Offereins were part of the quartet that claimed bronze at the 2009 world titles.
"We really believe that the 4x400 is an event that as long as you are in the final anything can really happen," he said.
"Also being at the back end of the championships when everyone is tired from running all their rounds [in the individual 400] it's one of those events that if you have got the calibre of athletes that are hungry enough anything can happen."
Wroe also believes breaking the national 4x400m relay record of 2:59.70 set back in 1984 is achievable with Australia's current crop of one-lappers.