Aussie Summer Kicks Off with Athletics in Adelaide

Athletics Australia

The Chemist Warehouse Australian Summer of Athletics begins today with homegrown and international talent, including Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz and Olympic and Paralympic medallists, Ash Moloney and Michael Roeger headlining a blockbuster evening of track and field at the Adelaide Invitational.

The first meet of the series, the Adelaide Invitational will give athletes a chance to chase down qualifiers and crucial ranking points ahead of the World Athletics Championships and the World Para Athletics Championships later this year.

Renowned as one of the world’s fastest decathletes and prodigious talent at only 22-years-old, Olympic bronze medallist Ash Moloney will line up in the 100m and the discus but will have his work cut-out for him, coming up against some of the greats of Australian athletics.

Australia’s premier sprinter Rohan Browning who last year delighted the crowd with a run of 10.12 (+0.9) will once again open his season in Adelaide , and will be joined by World Athletics Under 20 medallist Calab Law national champion Jake Doran, as well as Commonwealth Games representatives Jack Hale and Joshua Azzopardi. The in-form Jacob Despard will round out the top contenders, with local man, Australian Under 20 record holder Aidan Murphy ( looming as the man to chase down in the 200m.

Greeting Moloney into the discus circle will be Commonwealth champion Matt Denny. The Allora product will be targeting a mark near his best of 67.26m, with the likes of Lachlan Page and World Under 20 finalist Darcy Miller set to follow his lead.

“Me and my coach sat down and thought about what we want to do and what we need to work on. In the past I haven’t competed much in the 100m, so I thought this would be a good opportunity in my first Track Classic outside of Brisbane,” Moloney said.

“I am pretty excited! When I heard the calibre of the A race I was really surprised, 10.4 would have gotten you into that race a few years ago. There was a bit turnout last year and I am looking forward to getting out there in Adelaide.”

Commonwealth silver medallist Jade Lally of Great Britain will take on Australia’s Taryn Gollshewsky in the women’s discus.

Despite returning from knee surgery, Rio Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz of the United States is a major drawcard at the Adelaide Invitational where he will run the 800m. The renowned showman has forged a decorated resume featuring Olympic and World Indoor titles, along with World Championships silver and bronze medals.

Centrowitz is recognised universally as a hard man to beat but Australia’s own training partners Jye Perrott (and Lachlan Raper will be out to gun down the Olympic champion on current fitness, while New Zealand’s Brad Mathas and Malta’s Jared Micallef make it a truly international affair. The field of 10 is separated by less than two seconds in seed times ranging from 1:45-1:47, with a bustling affair anticipated over two laps.

World Championships 1500m finalist Georgia Griffith will also drop back to 800m but it is Ellie Sanford (Terri Cater) who has laid down an early season marker of 2:02.35. 2:03-athlete Sarah Billings also appears poised for a breakthrough performance in this company.

Olympic steeplechase duo Ben Buckingham and Matthew Clarke lead the Australian contenders in the 3000m steeplechase, with Canada’s John Gay out to spoil the Australian party. Gay finished fourth at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and sixth in Tokyo and will be using this as a warm up ahead of the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst next week. Max Stevens will not be short of support in his home state.

Tokyo Olympian Georgia Winkcup and World Championships representative Brielle Erbacher will take on Japan’s Reimi Yoshimura in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, along with Australian junior Abbie Butler.

The middle-distance action is set to roll on as Paralympic hopeful Reece Langdon sets his eyes on the 1500m T38 world record of 3:47.89 by Canada’s Nate Riech, with the Australian record holder at 3:52.80 adopting a high risk, high reward approach. The ambitious feat would see Langdon make it back-to-back world records at the Adelaide Invitational after Michael Roeger’s 5000m T46 world record in 2022; the hometown hero returning alongside rising T38 prospect Angus Hincksman.

World Championship duo Naa Anang and Bree Masters spearhead slick women’s sprinting fields in the 100m, along with rising 18-year-old Torrie Lewis and Tokyo Olympian Hana Basic who continues her comeback. With the leading quartet yet to reveal their cards on the track after opening their season on the grass, their true form will be revealed in Adelaide as the domestic season heats up.

A resurgent crop of Australian triple jumpers has been led by Birmingham Commonwealth Games representative Julian Konle who battled it out with Australian champion Ayo Ore and Connor Murphy throughout 2022, but there is a new kid on the block. 19-year-old Aiden Hinson was forced to withdraw from the 2022 World Under 20 Championships but nailed a 16.35m (+1.4) effort among a strong series this January to stamp his arrival in the Open ranks. Konle is the only man in the field to have jumped farther in legal conditions, with his 16.66m (0.0) leap in 2020.

An equally intriguing contest in the sandpit awaits between Kayla Cuba and Desleigh Owusu , who can be separated by seven centimetres on paper. It is Cuba who holds the ascendency in that domain with her career best of 13.56m (+1.9) in 2022, but the 23-year-old has been touted as one of the bolters of 2023. Owusu’s campaign got off to a promising start with a 13.42m (0.0) recording at the ACT Championships.

Following on from the Adelaide Invitational, the next stop for the Chemist Warehouse Summer of Athletics is the Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne, a World Athletics Continental Tour Meet on February 23.

Full entry lists for the Adelaide Invitational can be found here.

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