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Griffith and Mathews qualify for London 2017

Monday, 12 June 2017 | Cody Lynch

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A stunning women’s 800m personal best of 2:00.90 by the 20-year-old Georgia Griffith (Vic) has placed her in the box seat for a maiden start at the IAAF World Championships in London (GBR).

Competing at the Portland Track Festival alongside a bounty of Australians, including Linden Hall (Vic) who ran a 1500m season best of 4:04.37, Griffith’s performance is the fastest by an Australian since Tamsyn Lewis-Manou in 2011 and ensures a green and gold starter in the women’s two lap race for the first time since 2013.

“I think I’m in shock. I had to double check the time to make sure that it was correct. It’s amazing to have the qualifier. I’ve just come back onto Wi-Fi too and I’ve got plenty to catch up on. The support from home has been great and I’ve had so many people congratulate me which is so nice,” Griffith said.

“I’m just so excited about what this means. To be in the mix for an Australian team at the world championships is a little insane and we have a home Commonwealth Games next year. To do this time now, then to have the chance to run at London before the Gold Coast is amazing.”

A student at Monash University in Melbourne (Vic), Griffith and her coach Steve Ellinghaus now have the chance to reflect on what has been a fantastic experience at altitude training in America before making their way to London 2017.

“The experience of the training camp at altitude has been perfect. I’m the kind of athlete that likes to focus completely on my running when I’m in an important training phase and this opportunity has allowed me to do that. The environment has been amazing and I’ve got a week to go before coming home,” Griffith added.

“I was never sure if I would get the qualifier, so then it will be home and a chance to reassess. The experience of the two races before this one, and today, might be enough to see me through to the world championships so basing at home is most likely, I think.”

In other results at the Portland Track Festival, Isaac Hockey (Vic) ran a personal best of 3:42.65 to take line honours in the men’s 1500m ‘C’ Race, while Sarah Billings (Vic) stopped the clock at 2:03.66 in the women’s 800m ‘C’ Race to record her fastest ever performance.

Not to be outdone at the FBK Games in Hengelo (NED) was Luke Mathews (Vic).

Sporting what is fast becoming a signature moustache, the Rio 2016 Olympian stopped the clock in the men’s 1500m in a new personal best time of 3:35.57 to record a second world championships qualifier for the distance from as many starts.

Mathews’ international season began with a 3:54.53 run in the mile at the Prefontaine Classic before crossing the line in 3:35.60 to open his season in Europe at the Global Athletics Meet in Nijmegen (NED). He will now join his Melbourne Track Club training partners at their base in Teddington (GBR).

In other Australian results this past weekend:
-          Sally Pearson (Qld) closed out her first stint of international racing with a 12.83 (w: +1.4) run at the Racers Grand Prix in Kingston (JAM). She will now return to the Gold Coast (Qld) before further competition in Europe in July.
-          Patrick Tiernan (Qld) soared to 5th on the Australian All-Time List for 3000m with a strong personal best run of 7:41.20 to placed second behind Mo Farah (GBR) at the Racers Grand Prix.
-          Competing in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, Stewart McSweyn (Tas) stopped the clock in a personal best 8:34.25 at the Folksam Challenge in Gothenburg (SWE).
-          Crossing the line in 1:46.30 and 1:47.75 respectively, Joshua Ralph (NSW) and Peter Bol (Vic) edged closer to the London 2017 qualifier for 800m at races in Gothenburg (SWE) and Szczecin (POL) respectively.

The IAAF Diamond League now moves to Oslo (NOR) on 15 June, before a plethora of Australia's best athletes compete in Townsville (Qld) on 17-18 June 2017.

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