James Kaan (centre) with coach James Fitzgerald
(right) and physiotherapist Shannon Codd hope
to build on this year's successes and qualify for
next year's Olympic Games in London.
Castle Hill's James Kaan gets his first national track title
BY STEVEN SPIERINGS
24 May, 2011
CASTLE Hill track star James Kaan has in his own words managed to "lift another level" this year after dominating at both the Australian Athletics Championships and finishing second at Japan's Seiko Kawasaki Grand Prix this month.
The newly-crowned 800 metre national champion broke through for his maiden Australian title in Melbourne after clocking a minute and 47 seconds to edge out last year's winner Lachlan Redshaw and win gold.
Kaan and his coach James Fitzgerald agreed the prestigious honour was an important stepping stone in the 20-year-old's development.
"I came in second at last year's nationals and was really hungry to win this time round," he said.
In the the preliminary heat Kaan posted his slowest time of the season at 1:48.85 but still managed to qualify for the final.
Sticking to a strict race plan, Kaan made his move in the final 200 metres of the race and was able to hold off a fast-finishing Redshaw.
The result means Kaan now qualifies for the 2011 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Fitzgerald, who linked up with Kaan in February, said his young runner has made steady progress this year and should now be considered a serious contender for Olympic Games selection.
"We've taken a holistic approach to improving James's performance," Fitzgerald said. "With James's training regime we focus on long-haul running, strengthening exercises and diet. We're always looking at ways to add to his performance."
To prepare for September's World Championships in South Korea, Kaan will now travel to a training camp in London and later compete at the Savo Games in Lapinlahti, Finland.