Ippy stars show the world
IPSWICH athletes have mixed with and beaten a host of international competitors at the Down Under Track and Field Championships.
More than 600 competitors battled it out at the Queensland State Athletics Centre, Nathan, at the weekend with Australian athletes representing their clubs against international competition from as far as the US, Brazil and New Zealand.
The international competitors were predominantly college students, here in their summer holidays to compete.
The Ipswich and District Athletics Club (IDAC) claimed wins from Connor McNamara (20-years-plus 2000m steeplechase), Thomas Cronin (under 15 200m steeplechase), and Johnathon Taylor (15-16-years 200m).
There were also placings from Taylor (third in the 15-16-years 100m), Scott Tuohy (second in the 20-years-plus 400m) and Aaliyah Chambers (second in the 18-19-years 300m hurdles), while McNamara, Cronin, Tuohy and Chambers recorded personal bests at the meeting.
Liz Melrose and Alistair Wells were the other IDAC athletes competing at the meeting, with both performing well, but missing out on medals.
"It gives our athletes the chance to compete against international competition," IDAC coach Vic Pascoe said of the benefits of the meeting.
"Some athletes were using it as a warm-up for the World Championships (in Moscow in August). So it was a damned good effort".
Tuohy's second in the 400m came behind Alex Beck, who is a member of the Australian squad for the World Championships.
Taylor, on the other hand, was using the meeting as a "starting point for the Australian track and field season", which starts in October, Pascoe said.
Making the personal-best efforts even more impressive was that none of the athletes was expected to be peaking now, in the middle of the Australian off-season.
Among the most impressive performances was that of McNamara, who broke his PB by about 11 seconds.
"It was Thomas Cronin's first attempt at the 2000m steeplechase so it was a pretty good first go," Pascoe said. "He went a little bit too hard first up, but it was a good experience."
Part of the experience gained was the belief that these Ipswich and Australian athletes can match it with some of the best from around the world.
But there is more to it than just the competitive benefits.
The meeting also gave them a taste of the protocols in place at higher level competitions and the chance to make lasting friendships.
"They'll set up friendships with quite a few of them," Pascoe said.
"They've shown they can match it with them in their age groups.
"They get called into a call room, exactly the same protocol as at the Australian Championships.
"Then have their warm-up and last call. If they're not there after that they miss out."
Pascoe expects a bright future from all of the Ipswich athletes, but believes Chambers could be exceptional if she chose to focus solely on her athletics, while Taylor has his sights set on big things.
"If Aaliyah puts her mind to the 400m hurdles she will do well," Pascoe said.
"But she's involved in a lot of netball and basketball at the moment. Johnathon Taylor made it to the Australian titles first go."
- Connor McNamara: 1st 20yrs+ 2000m Steeple Chase (6.24.81 PB)
- Thomas Cronin: 1st 15yrs & under 2000m Steeple Chase (8.32.38PB)
- Johnathon Taylor: 1st 15-16yrs 200m (23.06); 3rd 15-16yrs 100m (11.75).
- Scott Tuohy 2nd 20yrs+ 400m (48.73 PB)
- Aaliyah Chambers: 2nd 18-19yrs 300m Hurdles (48.90 PB).