23 May 2011Riseley dominates for IAAF world champs 800m qualifier in California
Australian 1500m champion Jeff Riseley has today dominated a men’s 800m event in California (USA) to post his first IAAF world championships qualifier in style.
A last minute addition to the OXY High Performance Meet start list after a change to his scheduled flight to London (GBR) on Friday, Riseley’s impressive winning time of 1:45.02 rockets the Australian Flame athlete to third on the Australian All-Time List behind middle distance legends Ralph Doubell (1:44.40) and Peter Bourke (1:44.78).
“Ironically we were sent the wrong itinerary so Jeff has ended up with an extra day or so in the States,” Nic Bideau, Riseley’s coach, said.
“He called me and said if I am going to be here I may as well try and get a start the OXY Meet – we wanted the 1500m so he could have a crack at the qualifier against the likes of Nick Willis but it wasn’t to be.”
“That doesn’t really matter though does it because across the 800m today he has done remarkably well.”
Riseley headed to the front of the lead pack with 150 metres to go, taking victory by more than a second over his nearest rival Julius Mutekanga (1:46.45) of Uganda, with American Kevin Hicks (1:46.65) rounding out the top three.
Joining Sean Wroe, Ryan Gregson and Lachlan Renshaw to win a silver medal (9:17.56) in the USA v the World Distance Medley Relay at the Penn Relays last month, Riseley’s performance today shows a continuing strong return after withdrawing from the Commonwealth Games in October as a result of injury.
During the Australian domestic season, Riseley won the 1500m at the Briggs Athletics Classic (3:44.44) and IAAF Melbourne Track Classic (3:36.71), with his result in Melbourne ensuring a second consecutive win over Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop (KEN) on home soil. Further success over 800m (1:47.95) at the Go for 2&5 Australian Athletics Tour Final followed, before victory in across 1500m again to become national champion mid-April.
“The next stop for Jeff is London where he will set up a base before competing in Ostava across 1000m on May 31,” Bideau continued.
“The plan has always been to push for 1500m selection so that is what we will work toward in Europe – he has the ability to be one of the best in the world.”