Jack Hale is among a group of talented sprinters chasing a spot on the Commonwealth Games team.The most celebrated event in track and field will make a welcome return to top billing in at the Commonwealth Games trials.
hasn’t produced an individual medallist in the men’s short sprint at Commonwealth level since the early 1960s, back when the race was still run over 100 yards.
Given the high standard of sprinting across the Commonwealth, that podium drought isn’t likely to end at the April 4-15 Games on the Gold Coast.
But in the likes of Josh Clarke, Jack Hale, Trae Williams and Rohan Browning – all aged 22 or under – has a crack 4x100m relay squad in the making, with the prospect of some significant individual success to come further down the track.
“Some of our sprinters are on the precipice of big breakthroughs,” n head coach Craig Hilliard told AAP ahead of the trials, which run from Thursday to Sunday at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.
“Whereas we have had one or two very good sprinters at the same time in the past, we’ve now got a very strong squad.
“In terms of depth you probably have to go back to our 1995 silver medal world championships relay team (including the likes of Damien Marsh and Steve Brimacombe).
“We also had the Matt Shirvingtons and Patrick Johnsons who came post that era.
“But I think these guys would match any group we’ve had.”
Clarke’s PB of 10.15 seconds set in early 2016 is the fastest 100m by an n this decade, while only 0.003 seconds separated winner Browning from Williams and Hale at the ACT championships last month after all three were clocked at 10.23.
The makeup of the n women’s 4x100m relay squad is also garnering plenty of interest, in no small part due to the fact that Sally Pearson has made herself available for selection.
As ever, Olympic and two-time world champion Pearson’s main focus will be the 100m hurdles, where she is the hottest of favourites to claim a third straight Commonwealth crown.
But she has also always been an accomplished flat sprinter, as evidenced by a flying time of 11.17 last December.
“It would be fantastic,” said Pearson.
“I haven’t done relays for a long time now.
“I think the last time we had a team was in 2011 at the world championships.
“There’s a lot of new girls now and to get another chance to step out into the stadium in front of your home crowd is always a thrill.”
The men’s long jump will be another fascinating event at the trials, pitting 2015 world championships silver medallist Fabrice Lapierre against the likes of Henry Frayne and defending national champ Chris Mitrevski.
All event winners at the trials will be guaranteed spots in the n team for the Commonwealth Games, provided they have bettered the B qualifying standard, as will all runners-up, if they have an A qualifying mark under their belt.
The full 108-strong squad – including 20 para-athletes – will be revealed on Tuesday or Wednesday.