Sunday, 18 April 2010

John Steffensen to defend Commonwealth Games title

Australian John Steffensen will get the chance to defend his 400-metre crown at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games in October after finishing second at the national championships on Saturday.

Steffensen, who had back surgery 13 weeks ago, had wanted to skip the Games selection trials in Perth before being advised by Athletics Australia that he risked being left out of the team unless he competed this weekend.

He finished second behind Ben Offereins, who continued his unbeaten season to win in 45.17 seconds.

Steffensen, who complained of back pain after Friday's semi-finals, eased up in the final to claim second spot in 45.72 in his first meet since last August, while Joel Milburn was third in 45.75.

Steffensen, 27, won 400m gold at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Young sprinters Aaron Rouge-Serret and Melissa Breen won their first national 100m titles and secured spots in the Games squad.

Rouge-Serret won the men's sprint in 10.32 seconds, while Breen was a dominant winner of the women's 100m in 11.50.

Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Parnov is almost certain to be the youngest member of the Australian Games team after she won the women's pole vault on a countback from Alana Boyd after both cleared 4.40m.

Lachlan Renshaw (800m), Brendan Cole (400m hurdles) and Kimberley Mickle (women's javelin) were among others to book their spots on the New Delhi Games team with victories on Saturday.

The selection trials end on Sunday with the national team for the Games announced on Monday.


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