The Coles Summer Super Series is set to get underway in Canberra on Thursday evening, with many of Australia’s leading athletes across a range of disciplines entered to feature in the event.
The meet shapes up as a great night of athletics action at the AIS, with a preview of the action to be found below.
The Men’s 800m will feature Peter Bol (Justin Rinaldi) who will run his first 800m of the season after a 3:42.05 1500m in January. Jeffrey Riseley (Justin Rinaldi) will also toe the line in Canberra, with the seasoned veteran making a habit of winning in Victoria this season – the fastest of his times a 1:48.11 at Zatopek. He has been regularly challenged by 19-year-old Jack Lunn (Steve Fabris), who possesses a swift personal best of 1:47.42 and has run 1:47.79 this season.
Other contenders in the event include Lachlan Raper (Ben Liddy) and Jye Perrott (Ben Liddy), with Raper entering fresh off a huge personal best of 1:47.97 and Perrott indicating strong early season form.
Australian record holder Catriona Bisset (Peter Fortune) is set for a rematch with Canberra’s own Keely Small (Philo Saunders), after Small narrowly defeated Bisset at last week’s ACT Championships.
Linden Hall will be looking to sharpen up over the shorter trip, with the traditional metric miler already clocking a blistering 4:04.33 over her preferred distance this season. Brittany Kaan (Nic Bideau) has run 2:04.13 over 800m this season which places her among the podium hopefuls in Canberra.
Men’s High Jump
Brandon Starc (Alex Stewart) headlines the action in the Men’s High Jump, with the equal Australian record holder back in action after almost one year working on his craft at training. Starc’s prominence as one of the world’s leading high jumpers makes him a major drawcard at the Coles Summer Super Series, but it is unlikely that he will have it all his own way with Joel Baden (Sandro Bisetto) and Marco Fassinotti (Alex Stewart) also set to compete. Both Baden and Fassinotti have already cleared 2.22m, making for a competitive event in Canberra.
Women’s High Jump
All eyes in this event will be on Nicola McDermott (Matt Horsnell) in her return to jumping after a successful European campaign in 2020. McDermott cleared 1.98m in Germany to set a new personal best and fall only 1cm short of Eleanor Patterson’s Australian record – a bar that the two will undoubtedly be looking to raise this season. Arguably the greatest feature of McDermott’s 2020 performances was the 24-year-old’s consistency, regularly jumping well over 1.90m. The event will kick-start what looms as a big year for McDermott, with an Olympic debut in Tokyo a dream in waiting.
All roads in the world of sprinting seem to lead to Canberra. The in-form Jack Hale (Adam Larcom) will be the man to beat. With a seed time of 10.12, Hale is set to fly far in front of his competitors, and if conditions are conducive to fast times, Hale will be in hot pursuit of the Olympic standard and personal best territory.
Jake Penny (self & Matthew Wade) who finished behind Hale at the ACT State Championships just over a week ago, will be pushing to beat Hale, and up against the two will be Alexander Hartmann (Travis Venema) and Jacob Despard, both out for the title.
Hana Basic (John Nicolosi) will make her way up to Canberra to take one the likes of Sophia Fighera (Matt Carter) in what is shaping up as a quality race down the straight.
Basic is the form runner of the field with times of 11.45 and 11.37 under her belt this season, with the 25-year-old proving to be one of the surprise performers of the season so far. Basic will have her work cut out for her by Fighera, who is another athlete who has made strong progress over the off season, with the 22-year-old closing the gap on the upper echelon of Australia’s fastest women.
Men’s 100m Ambulant
Canberra-based sprinter Chad Perris T13 (Iryna Dvoskina) is in blistering form, clocking 10.81 at the ACT Championships. It was just outside of his lifetime best (10.79) and faster than all of his four medal winning performances at three World Para Athletics Championships and the Rio Paralympics. The time dipped under his own Oceania record of 10.83.
Current T36 100m world champion and world record holder, James Turner (Iryna Dvoskina) lines up next to Perris in the Ambulant 100m. Turner will be shooting for the Tokyo Paralympic Games A qualifying standard of 11.96.
Men’s Shot Put
Australian record holder Damien Birkinhead (Scott Martin) has set the standard for Australian shot put for the best part of a decade, making it no surprise that he took home another state title over the weekend with a performance of 20.48m. Birkinhead is set to be challenged in Canberra by the emerging talent of Alexander Kolesnikoff (David Bruce) who possesses a season’s best of 19.51m.
Now aged 20, Kolesnikoff attends Stanford University and has made significant progress to begin 2021 – a trajectory that places him within striking distance of Birkinhead and sets up an enticing battle for this year and beyond.
Men’s Long Jump
Henry Smith (John Boas) and Christopher Mitrevski (John Boas) headline a strong field in the Men’s Long Jump, with both men leaping just under the 8 metre mark already in 2021. The Australian men have jumped 8.05m and 8.06m respectively in their career, making for a fierce rivalry between the two 24-year-olds.
Smith has not yet jumped this season, but if he is as in form as he was last season, with a jump of 7.99m, he will be in contention for setting a new personal best in 2021.
Women’s 800m Wheelchair
Three of Australia’s greatest Paralympians line up in the women’s Wheelchair 800m. Between them Madison de Rozario (T53, Louise Sauvage), Angie Ballard (T53, Fred Periac) and Eliza Ault-Connell (T54, Fred Periac) have represented Australia on 32 national teams winning 43 medals at the Paralympics Games, World Championships or Commonwealth Games.
De Rozario has twice won the T53 800m world title, while Ballard has held the world record. De Rozaio will start favourite, but Ault-Connell will be a challenge as she strives to return to the Paralympic arena, following her Athens 2004 appearance.
Men’s 3000m Steeplechase
World Championships representative Ben Buckingham (Nic Bideau) is set to do battle over the barriers with the South Australian duo of Max Stevens and Matthew Clarke (Adam Didyk), along with New South Wales stalwart James Nipperess (Dick Telford). The small yet classy field shapes up as a rare opportunity to run a fast steeple on Australian soil – one that the competitors will be looking to grab with both hands.
Buckingham has raced just once this season, recording 7:57.81 for 3000m, along with pacing Zatopek through 5000m. Nipperess’ most recent result also comes in the form of a 3000m race when clocking 7:55.79 in November. Clarke has a 3:42.64 to his name in 2021 over 1500m – indicating that he is in terrific early-season shape. Stevens’ form is largely unknown but the national champion is likely to fire in his pet event as he chases an Olympic dream.