Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Australia's first list for Commonwealth Games

World champions Steve Hooker and Dani Samuels will spearhead the Australian athletics team's charge on the 2010 Commonwealth Games after the two world title-holders were provisionally nominated alongside six fellow stars of track and field in the Delhi-bound team.

World championship gold medallists Hooker (pole vault) and Samuels (discus throw) are joined on the list of Round 1 nominations for the Australian team by Berlin World Championship bronze medal winner Mitchell Watt (long jump), fellow long jumper Fabrice Lapierre, Olympic medallists Sally McLellan (100m hurdles) and Jared Tallent (20km walk), marathon athlete Lisa Weightman and Collis Birmingham( 10000m).

Athletics Australia's High Performance strategy to send a large squad to the Commonwealth Games in 2010 teamed with the current high standard of athletics in Australia and the depth of domestic talent means almost 100 athletes look set to book a ticket to Delhi by the end of the upcoming season.

The eighth athlete to be nominated, Collis Birmingham, met the automatic selection criteria following his A-qualifying performance and national title win at the Zatopek:10 at Melbourne Olympic Park on December 10.

To confirm their selection in the Commonwealth Games team all athletes (marathon representatives excluded) must perform to at least the B-qualifying standard by the close of the national championships on April 18 unless granted exemption by Athletics Australia.

Athletics Australia will look to send its largest athletics team ever to contest a major overseas meet to next year's 19th edition of the Games, with over 100 athletes expected to be given a call-up to the squad.

Athletics Australia High Performance manager Eric Hollingsworth said, "We'll be taking away the biggest team ever to leave these shores."

He added: "Essentially it encourages everyone to have a go, the standards are within reach of a wide range of athletes and one of the key things we want to emphasise is that we want to take as many athletes as we can to the Commonwealth Games to finalise Athletics Australia's High Performance identification process."


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