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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Joel Bee confident for Olympic trials after 46.99

Joel Bee confident for Olympic trials after 46.99

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Joel Bee to run in Olympic trials

Ballarat Courier
28 Feb, 2012

BALLARAT 400m sprinter Joel Bee is ready to run against the fastest men in Australia for Olympic team selection.

Bee, 19, has been confirmed to race in Friday’s Olympic Team Athletic Trials at Lakeside Stadium after running a personal best of 46.99 to beat the qualifying 47 second benchmark.

The Paul Cleary-trained athlete will be joined at trials by a strong contingent of fellow Ballarat Olympic contenders including 5km distance runner Collis Birmingham and javelin throwers Brett Castle, Luanga Andria and Kathryn Mitchell.

Ballarat’s Neville Down trained Kate Ryan, 19, will contest the 400m hurdles while Eureka distance runner Tyson Popplestone was yesterday announced as pacemaker for the 5km run with Birmingham.

If any of these athletes win their event while meeting the Olympic standard they gain automatic selection to London.

Even if they fail to meet the standard, a first place would give them a strong chance of making the team.

When Bee fronts up to the Albert Park track on Friday he’ll be meeting the likes of Commonwealth Games gold medallist John Steffensen and silver medallist Sean Wroe in the 400m.

Bee hasn’t been beaten for the season so far over 400 metres, but he is yet to face Steffensen, who has posted the fastest time of 45.6.

Bee said mixing it with the nation’s top runners would push him to match pace.

“If I can mix it with them hopefully I can run a lot faster,” Bee said.

“A junior like myself could easily pop up and run a good time and beat some of those guys.”

Bee recorded a personal best at an ACT interclub meet in Canberra on Friday – just a week out from trials.

Athletics Victoria had already granted Bee eligibility for a lane at Lakeside, but the Ballarat sprinter hoped to earn his spot.

“I’m in the mix now,” he said.

“Obviously my form’s good because I ran a PB on Friday.

“I feel good going in ... I’ve got nothing to lose so I’ll definitely have a crack.”

Bee’s coach Paul Cleary says the 19-year-old has a good chance of making Australia’s 4x400m Olympic relay team – a stepping stone to becoming Australia’s number one 400m sprinter by Rio 2016.

“Joel’s worked really hard this year to give himself a shot,” Cleary said.

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