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Bird-Smith returns to the road

16 February 2017

ATHLETICS: “Rio was a lifelong dream but a four year plan,” says Dane Bird-Smith (Qld) as he reflects on his Olympic bronze medal just days before his return to the road for the Oceania and Australian 20km Race Walking Championships.

“Looking back on the day and everything that led to it, I am unbelievably proud of myself, and the team around me, for being able to take the victories and the failures in our stride across the build-up. We were constantly learning. I think that’s our secret, to always evolve, and that’s how we plan to move forward for the new Olympic cycle”

Bird-Smith is one of more than 60 athletes set to line-up in Adelaide (SA) this Sunday 19 February, with the 24-year-old determined to continue an impressive start to 2017 that includes a national record breaking time of 10:54.70 in the men’s 3000m track walk last week.

Eyeing automatic selection to the Australian team bound for London 2017 this August, a win for Bird-Smith in a time quicker than 1:24:00 will ensure his start at a third consecutive IAAF World Championships.

“I’m off to a great start this year, with an Australian Record in a track walk. I don’t plan on stopping either, I want the national marks in the 5-kilometre and 10-kilometre events too as I warm up for the big one in London,” Bird-Smith said.

“It’s going to be fire over there, it’s one of the best courses in the world and I’m pretty confident that everyone from the Olympic Games is backing up for the World Championships. I’ve just got to focus on my race and work hard to bring my best to championships again.”

“Adelaide will be my first race on the road in five months and I’m looking forward to it. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking, getting back out there, but I’ve got a big hunger to take on what’s a pretty strong field with athletes from here at home and overseas.”

Bird-Smith’s green and gold teammate from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Rhydian Cowley (Vic), will start alongside him in the men’s 20km walk, together with an international contingent that includes Edward Araya (CHI), Nick Christie (USA), Evan Dunfee (CAN), Quentin Rew (NZL), Wayne Snyman (RSA) and Yamamoto Turu (JPN).

In the women’s event, in which Australian selection for London 2017 is also on offer, Rio 2016 Olympian Regan Lamble (Vic) will duel with her IAAF World Race Walking Championships teammate Beki Smith (NSW) for the coveted national crown.

For more information on the Oceania and Australian 20km Race Walking Championships, including entry lists, please click here.

To view and download the Selection Policy for the IAAF World Championships, please click here.

Competition heats up on track this weekend, too, with Adelaide (SA) and Canberra (ACT) set to play host to the South Australian and ACT Athletics Championships respectively.

Rio 2016 Olympian Kurtis Marschall (SA) headlines action at the South Australian Athletics Stadium, competing in the men’s pole vault as he targets the 5.70m qualifying mark for the IAAF World Championships only days after competing for Team Australia at Coles Nitro Athletics Melbourne.

In the nation’s capital, Melissa Breen (ACT) and Josh Clarke (NSW) will start in the short sprints, alongside an impressive set of starters that also Rio 2016 Olympians Anneliese Rubie (NSW, 400m, 800m), Lauren Wells (ACT, 400m, 400m hurdles), Peter Bol (Vic, 800m) and Michelle Jenneke (NSW, 100m hurdles).

 Athletics Australia

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