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Exciting track and field team announced for Rio Olympic Games

3 April 2016

RIO TEAM: New faces and seasoned track and field performers have been selected on to the 2016 Australian Olympic Team today for the Rio Games.

Twenty-eight (28) new athletes have been announced at a Gala Dinner at Sydney Olympic Park, following the conclusion of the four day Australian Championships. Seven athletes across the 10,000m and walks who have already been named were also recognised.

Eloise Wellings who was named in the 10,000m previously adds the 5000m to her race program for Rio 2016. By mid-July the Athletics Section of the Team could be 50 athletes – the largest of any sport wearing the green and gold in Rio.

“As Chef de Mission nothing gives me more pleasure than welcoming athletes on to our 2016 Australian Olympic Team,” 2016 Team Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller said.

“These athletes have done the hard work to realise their dream and I know they will do Australia proud – on and off the track.”

The Trials started with 21-year-old decathlete Cedric Dubler doing a huge personal best to achieve the Olympic qualifier. And on Sunday the Trials were concluded with 21-year-old Ella Nelson (200m), 22-year-old Michelle Jenneke (100m hurdles) and 23-year-old Alexander Hartmann (200m) all achieving the Olympic standard again this summer.

Athletics Australia Head Coach Craig Hilliard is thrilled with the make-up of the Team.

“The athletes named so far are a fantastic mix of youth and experience making us well placed for Rio and for beyond to Tokyo,” Hilliard said.

“There has been a lot of young athletes that have stepped up in the Olympic year such as Damien Birkinhead, Brooke Stratton, Ella Nelson, Alexander Hartmann, Morgan Mitchell, Josh Clarke and of course Cedric Dubler to name a few.

“We also have experienced campaigners like Fabrice Lapierre ready to add an Olympic medal to his world championships achievements and you can’t forget defending Olympic champion Sally Pearson. Sally is worth her weight in gold. She’s been there and knows what it takes to win a silver and then step up to the top of the podium. She will give guidance and advice to the younger athletes that will be invaluable.”

Commonwealth high jump champion Eleanor Patterson is the youngest member and 3000m steeplechaser Victoria Mitchell is the eldest of four 33-year-olds. Of the 28 new additions to the Team selected 17 will make their Olympic debut, seven are at their second Games and four (Alana Boyd, Benn Harradine, Pearson, Dani Samuels) are off to their third.

2009 World Champion Dani Samuels is looking for that discus podium in Rio and can’t keep the smile off her face when she talks about going to another Olympic Games.

“It’s awesome. I get a big smile on my face when it is mentioned,” Samuels said after posting yet another Olympic standard. 

“I can’t explain the pride of wearing the tracksuit and representing your country and its great knowing everyone is behind you and supporting you.

“Walking into a stadium like this with your Olympic gear on and having Australia next to your name is really what you train and what you live for.” 

All three available spots have been filled in the women’s javelin (Kim Mickle, Kathryn Mitchell, Kelsey-Lee Roberts) and women’s steeplechase (Madeline Hills, Genevieve LaCaze, Victoria Mitchell), while in the men’s long jump (Fabrice Lapierre, Henry Frayne), women’s 100m hurdles (Pearson, Michelle Jenneke) and women’s long jump (Brooke Stratton, Chelsea Jaensch) two positions are currently filled.

It has been 32 years (1984 to 2016), since two women have represented in long jump and as far back as 1972 for two women in the 100m hurdles.

Before Seven Olympic broadcasting legend Bruce McAvaney introduced each athlete, through a guard of honour of retired Olympians, Chiller explained to the more than 440 guests and media that the Athletics Section will continue to grow.

“As we celebrate all these athletes tonight, we must also acknowledge that there will be additional selections between now and the end of the qualifying period. And I must also mention that all tonight’s selections are subject to appeal.”

The marathon athletes should be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee from Athletics Australia around 25 April, additional 20km walk and 10,000m at the end of May, and final nominations in all other events by mid-July.

Athletics Selections for the 2016 Australian Olympic Team on 3 April 2016

Athlete                                  Age         Born                       Lives                                       Post Code              Event                     

Damien Birkinhead              22           Geelong, Vic          Chadstone, VIC                     3058                       Shot Put

Alana Boyd                            31           Melbourne, VIC    Sunshine Coast, QLD           4572                       Pole Vault

Josh Clarke                            20           Sydney, NSW        Bella Vista, NSW                   2153                       100m

Cedric Dubler                       21           Brisbane, QLD       The Gap, QLD                        4061                       Decathlon

Melissa Duncan                    26           Melbourne, VIC    Melbourne                            3158                       1500m

Henry Frayne                        25           Adelaide                                Brisbane                                4170                       Long Jump

Alexander Hartmann           23           Brisbane, QLD       Boondall, QLD                       4034                       200m

Benn Harradine                    33           Newcastle, NSW   Coorparoo, QLD                  4151                       Discus

Madeline Hills                       28           Shellharbour, NSW  Mangerton, NSW                   2500                       3000mSteeplechase

Chelsea Jaensch                   31           Elizabeth Vale, SA   Brisbane                              4172                       Long Jump

Michelle Jenneke                22           Sydney                   Dural, NSW                            2158                       100m Hurdles

Genevieve LaCaze               26           Benowa, QLD        Fairfield, QLD                        4103                       3000mSteeplechase

Fabrice Lapierre                  32           Reduit, MUR          Phoenix, USA                        N/A                         Long Jump

Luke Mathews                      20           Williamstown VIC   Newport, VIC                       3015                       800m

Kimberley Mickle                 31           Perth, WA             Scarborough, WA                6019                       Javelin

Kathryn Mitchell                  33           Hamilton, VIC        Casterton, VIC                       3311                       Javelin

Morgan Mitchell                  21           Carlton, VIC           Werribee, VIC                       3030                       400m

Victoria Mitchell                   33           Melbourne, VIC    Coogee, NSW                        2034                       3000mSteeplechase

Ella Nelson                             21           Hurstville, NSW    Heathcote, NSW                   2233                       200m

Eleanor Patterson                19           Leongatha, VIC      Leongatha, VIC                      3953                       High Jump

Sally Pearson                        29           Sydney, NSW        Gold Coast                             4212                       100m Hurdles

Kelsey-Lee Roberts             24           South Africa          Melba, ACT                            2615                       Javelin

Brett Robinson                     24           Canberra, ACT      South Melbourne, VIC         3206                       5000m

Anneliese Rubie                   23           Canberra, ACT      Elanora Heights, NSW          2101                       400m

Dani Samuels                        27           Sydney, NSW        Robina, QLD                          4228                       Discus

Brandon Starc                       22           Sydney, NSW        Baulkham Hills, NSW            2153                       High Jump

Brooke Stratton                    22           Box Hill, VIC           Melbourne                            3152                       Long Jump

Eloise Wellings                     33            New York, USA      Burraneer, NSW                    2230                       5000m *               

Lauren Wells                        27           Canberra, ACT      Flynn, ACT                             2615                       400m Hurdles

- Selections are subject to any appeals 
- Selections are subject to ongoing form and fitness
- These selections are in addition to the 10,000m runners (David McNeill and Eloise Wellings) and walkers (Dane Bird-Smith, Chris Erickson, Brendon Reading, Rachel Tallent, Jared Tallent) previously announced.
- Future nominations to the Australian Olympic Committee are anticipated on:-  25 April: Marathon; 30 May: 20km Walk & 10,000m; 12 July: Final Selection Meeting (all other events)

* Already selected in 10,000m previously


Andrew Reid


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