This year’s first weekend in March provides plenty of action for the Tasmanian athletics family with two big meets on offer.
At home, the State Open and Masters Championships will be held at the St Leonards Track in Launceston on both days (5 and 6 March). The number one interest, no doubt, will focus on Hamish Peacock’s continuing search for the Olympic qualifying mark of 83.00m in the men’s javelin on Saturday afternoon (3.30pm). But the Championships also provide a final hit out for the State younger athletes who early next week head off to Perth for the National Age Championships.
“Not all of our top juniors want to compete this weekend, but for some it is a great chance to test their skills against older athletes and in some way replicate what they will face against their major rivals over the next week,” Athletics Tasmania President, Mike Gunson said.
Matt Hosie is one who, as a budding decathlon star, thrives on continual competition and will use Sunday’s pole vault championship not only as preparation for Perth but as a chance to have another attempt at the 36 year old state open pole vault record, currently held by Steven Knott at 4.50m. Hosie had a solid attempt last weekend after setting a new state under 20 mark of 4.41m.
15 year old Raphaela Corney has made record breaking in the women’s vault almost a weekly occurrence this season and with the women’s and masters events combined (Sun from 10.45am), the growing interest in that event should provide quite a spectacle and potentially a swag of personal bests.
Entries in both the men’s and women’s sprints are strong and the finals of each (100m – 4.00pm Sat and 200m – 1.20pm Sun) should be amongst the most eagerly contested events of the weekend.
Reflecting the strong bond that has been formed between Athletics Tasmania and Tasmanian Masters Athletics, entries in the masters events are strong, with multiple races required in many track events.
“Athletics is a cradle to grave sport and with such a growing emphasis these days on health and physical activity as we age, we are delighted to see increasing numbers of older Tasmanians making athletics a sport of choice – some for the thrill of competition but mostly just to get out there participating,” Gunson said.
Attention will turn midway through the Championships on Saturday evening to Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne where a contingent of six Tasmanians will compete in the first world circuit meet of the year - the Melbourne Track Classic. Sam Lind (400m) and Steph Stigwood (5000m walk) will line up in the strong women’s program during the evening whilst Tasmanian men in action will be Stewart McSweyn (5000m), Tristan Thomas (400m Hurdles), Todd Hodgetts (shot put) and Huw Peacock (hammer throw). Much interest will focus on whether Hodgetts can again threaten his own F20 para world record and if McSweyn can lower the impressive state record he set at the recent Briggs Athletics Classic in Hobart.
Making it clear that the throwers are the toughest in track and field, the younger Peacock brother will then dash back to Launceston to attempt a state titles throws treble on Sunday in the shot, discus and hammer.
The timetable for Melbourne Track Classic is available HERE.
The Tasmanian Open and Masters Championships timetable is available HERE.
The Melbourne Track Classic will be live streamed – the click on link will be available at: www.athletics.com.au