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Lapierre & Jenneke to lead Aussie charge at Portland

20 January 2016

ATHLETICS: IAAF World Championships silver medallist Fabrice Lapierre (NSW) will don the green and gold of Australia alongside Michelle Jenneke (NSW), Nicholas Hough (NSW) and Collis Birmingham (Vic) at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland (USA).

One of four initial selections to the national team made by Athletics Australia Selectors today, Lapierre will take to the runway for the men’s long jump, while Jenneke and Hough start in the women’s and men’s 60m hurdles respectively and Birmingham the men’s 3000m.

“The Athletics Australia Selectors are proud to announce such a strong team for the IAAF World Indoor Championships. This initial round of selections boasts fantastic experience, with Fabrice a former gold medallist, and a great opportunity for up and coming athletes like Michelle to hone their international experience,” Dion Russell, Athletics Australia Chairman of Selectors, said.

“These initial selections take into account performances recorded up until early January. The team is likely to grow in the coming weeks with athletes having the opportunity to qualify through until the first week of March when the Selectors will consider any final selections for this event.”

“The Olympic year is always an exciting one, and Portland will add to what is going to be a busy, and hopefully very successful, year for Australian athletes.”

Lapierre has a history of success at indoor championships, winning gold at Doha 2010 with a leap of 8.17m. He also competed at Sopot 2014. Birmingham has spent recent weeks training at altitude at Falls Creek and two years ago placed 10th in the world indoor 3000m final in a time of 7:57.55.

The selection of both Jenneke and Hough will mark their first ever appearance at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. Hough is a Commonwealth Games finalist in the 110m hurdles from Glasgow 2014, while Jenneke progressed to the penultimate round in the 100m hurdles at the IAAF World Championships last year.

Jenneke has her sights set firmly on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games later this year, but the 22-year-old is dedicating herself to a strong performance at the world indoors and relishing the chance to compete for her country on the global stage.

“Selection to the world indoors team is a real honour. The qualifier across the shorter 60 metre hurdles event is tougher than that for Rio, so it is great to have gained selection,” Jenneke said.

“It’s a small but strong Australian team that I will be part of in Portland and it is especially exciting that it will be my first ever indoor race.

“The Olympics are obviously the main event this year, but I’ll be treating the IAAF World Indoor Championships with the same level of passion and enthusiasm, representing my country to the best of my ability.”

The IAAF World Indoor Championships will be held in Portland (USA) on 17-20 March, 2016. It will be the first time that the event has been held in America since Indianapolis (USA) welcomed the championship in 1987.

The qualification period for the IAAF World Indoor Championships closes on Sunday 7 March, with Athletics Australia Selectors to confirm the complete Australian Flame team in the week commencing Monday 8 March.

ATHLETICS AUSTRALIA

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