This weekend the majority of Australia‘s leading athletes line-up to compete as members of the Asia Pacific team at the 2018 Continental Cup in Ostrava in the Czech Republic. The meet is the only global senior outdoor championships of the year and will close the international season for our athletes.
It has been a landmark year for Australian athletics with the best results at the Commonwealth Games for 12 years, and World U20 Championships for 22 years.
Australia has a number of podium hopes, including the inform Brandon Starc, jumpers Henry Frayne and Brooke Stratton, throwers Kelsey Barber and Dani Stevens and distance athletes Ryan Gregson, Stewart McSweyn and Linden Hall. This preview looks at thier chances and more.
HIGH JUMP – Men
Time of event (AEST): day 1 - Saturday 22:35
Brandon Starc has been delivering all year at major championships and meets, and hopes are high that form will continue in Ostrava where on paper he is the favourite. This season he has equalled or raised his PB on four occasions, improving his best from 2.31m to 2.36m and equalling the 21-year-old national record.
Starc’s competition is most of the field in an even competition. They include London world championships bronze medallist Majd Eddin Ghazal (SYR), American Bryan McBride who set a PB of 2.35m earlier in the year, Donald Thomas (BAH) who started his career jumping in joggers at the 2006 Commonwealth Games (2.32m this year), European silver and bronze medallists respectively, Maksim Nedasekau (BEL) and Ilya Ivanyuk (ANA).
Australia’s best result in this event: silver 1994 Tim Forsyth
LONG JUMP – Men
Time of event (AEST): day 1 - Sunday 00:22
Three 8.40m+ jumpers head the field from Australia’s Henry Frayne, with a best of 8.34m this year, and an enviable consistency of 10 consecutive eight metre leaps this year.
The podium places should be dominated by South Africa’s London world championships bronze medallist Ruswahl Samaai (8.45m in 2018), USA's Olympic champion Jeff Henderson (PB 8.44m) and China's Wang Jianan (8.47m in 2018).
Australia’s best result in this event: silver 1998 Jai Taurima and silver 1981 Gary Honey
LONG JUMP - women
Time of event (AEST): day 2 Monday 00:25
There looks no doubt, like this week in Berlin, that Brooke Stratton could spring a surprise. In Berlin Stratton defeated two of her main rivals, European champion Malaika Mihambo (GER) and Commonwealth and European medallist Shara Proctor (GBR). Also, in the mix with Stratton will be Caterine Ibarguen (COL) who has set a national record of 6.87m this year and Commonwealth champion Christabel Nettey (CAN).
Australia’s best results in this event: gold 1977 Lyn Jacenko, bronze 1989 Nicole Boegman
DISCUS THROW - women
Time of event (AEST): day 1 – Sunday 01:10
It has been nearly five months since Dani Stevens competed in the discus and on that occasion, she defended her Commonwealth title on the Gold Coast. A hand injury has kept her out of the circle, but she returns to compete in a much-anticipated competition. Last week in the Diamond League final, two-time world and Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic was defeated by Cuba’s Yamie Perez. How will Perkovic respond to that defeat and what form will Stevens bring to Ostrava?
Australia’s best results in this event: silver 2014 Dani Stevens, bronze 1994 Daniela Costian
3000 METRES – men
Time of event (AEST): day 2 – Monday 01:15
The IAAF preview rates Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew and American Paul Chelimo as the leading hopes, however Australia’s inform distance star, Stewart McSweyn split these pair in the Rabat Diamond League 3000m race. Chelimo has dipped under 13 minutes recently in Brussels, in the same race where McSweyn ran a 14 second PB of 13:05.23.
Australia has a strong tradition in this race with Craig Mottram winning the second and third editions of the race in 2002 and 2006.
1500 METRES – women
Time of event (AEST): day 1 Saturday 23:25
The world leader is American Shelby Houlihan with 3:57.34, but she is vulnerable as evidenced by her defeat in her Diamond League final. Around four minutes this season, are African Games medallists Winnie Chebet (KEN) and Rababe Arafi (MAR). They and European silver medallist Sofia Ennaoui (POL) make this a close race that Melbourne’s Linden Hall could match. After lowering the national 1500m and mile records and a nice refresh at home late last month, Hall has warmup for this race with a comfortable 4:26.62 mile in Italy this week.
Australia’s best result in this event: bronze 2006 Sarah Jamieson
1500 METRES – men
Time of event (AEST): day 2 – Monday 00:48
It has been a massive year for Ryan Gregson who lines up in his 20th 1500m/mile of 2018. One of the favourites is World U20 Championships silver medallist Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) who was defeated for gold by George Manangoi (KEN). Now at senior level Ingebrigtsen faces Manangoi older brother Elijah, the current world and African 1500m champion. Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski European Championships medallist will also be a threat.
Australia’s best result in this event: 4th 2002 Youcef Abdi
JAVELIN THROW – women
Time of event (AEST): day 2 – Monday 01:13
Host country, the Czech Republic, will be hoping for a win here courtesy of European silver medallist Nikola Ogrodnikova, but European champion Christin Hussong (GER) will be tough to beat. Kelsey Barber (nee Roberts) has hit some nice form with a win in Berlin this week. Her Asia/Pacific team mate, China’s Lyu Huihui is also a podium prospect with a season’s best of 67.69m.
Australia’s best result in this event: gold 1998 Joanna Stone, bronze 2010 Kim Mickle
David Tarbotton for Athletics Australia
Your guide to watch and follow the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup
Athletics Australia will cover the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup with daily previews/reviews and across our social channels.
Competition is from:
Day one - Saturday 8 Sept 22:30 to Sunday 9 Sept 02:00 (AEST)
Day two - Sunday 9 Sept 22:30 to Monday 10 Sept 02:00 (AEST)
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IAAF Livestream on YouTube (available in Australia)
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Asia Pacific captain - @JanaPittman