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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Joel Milburn still in the race for an Olympics spot

Joel Milburn still in the race for an Olympics spot

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Joel Milburn races to make Olympics

by Chris Georgakopoulos
Penrith Press
16 May 12

Joel Milburn is hoping a strong showing in three athletics
meets will get him a spot on the Australian team.

LONDON Olympics hopeful Joel Milburn continues to race against the clock in his bid to overcome injury and make the Australian athletics team.

The Beijing Olympian, of Faulconbridge, has just returned to full fitness and has one month to make the 400m individual and 4x400m relay events.

“I’ve basically got until June 12, so three races in that time to run a good enough time to make the team,” Milburn said.

“It’s been frustrating as a slight hamstring strain turned into a three-month injury wiping out our entire domestic season. But I don’t want to give up my dream of another Olympic berth - I will try to death.”

He is expected to race in Sydney and twice on the Gold Coast.

“Normally I need to race about five to six races to get to my fastest; this time I only have three, so it will be different,” he said. “I’d love to qualify for the individual race, but at the moment I am focused on getting my spot on that relay team.

“In saying that, if I do miss out I am only 26, so I will aim to get into the next Olympics - I still think I have a few more years left in me.”


Going on current form, Joel needs to be justin 46.5 shape and he will make the squad.......if it gets selected for London.



Joel Milburn clings to last London hopes

Blue Mountains Gazette
16 May, 2012

Joel Milburn has just three opportunities at the end of a season cruelled by injury to gain selection on the Australian track and field team for the London Olympics.

The 400m runner has been unable to race during the crucial selection period due to tendinitis in his hamstring that flared up following a minor strain at the end of 2011.

The former Faulconbridge resident has one race in Sydney and two on the Gold Coast before the June 12 deadline to show the selectors his fitness and form have returned just in time to justify his place on the team.

“I’m only just getting back in shape and generally, personally I’m the kind of guy that needs to have a fair few races before I start actually showing progression . . . This year I’ve got about two or three races,” said Milburn.

“I’m running out of time massively but I’m not going to give up. I’ve got until June 12th to try and run something so I’m going to really have a go at it and fingers crossed I can pull something out and run a good time but if not then I guess it wasn’t to be this season.”

Even if he clocks an Olympic qualifying time, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist will still be at the mercy of the selectors but Milburn is confident his track record would be enough to get him over the line.

That any chance remains for Milburn is only down to the fact that no other Australians have claimed the spots due to a mixture of injury and form woes. It has been a massive fall from grace in an event that has produced many of the country’s track highlights over the past 20 years.

The 400m relay team is also running out of time to haul itself out of 17th position in the world rankings with only the top 16 making it to the start line in London. Milburn is hopeful that if the current squad can achieve qualification, he will be able to make the team by that route, but it all comes back to the next three runs.

Milburn remains philosophical about his predicament, frustrated at the position he is in but relieved he has any opportunity at all remaining.

“I would be more annoyed if I was sitting at home still injured. I’m going to have a go and try to make this team — if it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t and that’s just the way it is,” he said. “So if I don’t qualify it’s definitely going to be hard to watch the Olympic Games . . . but at the same time that’s going to give me some fire in the belly for the upcoming years.”



Late charge secures Joel Milburn's London Games berth

Blue Mountains Gazette
20 Jun, 2012

He may be a “bench warmer” at the moment but Joel Milburn could not be happier about being selected to go to his second Olympic Games, beginning at the end of July.

The former Faulconbridge resident was nominated by Athletics Australia to join a six-man 4x400m relay squad after defeating his main selection rivals on the Gold Coast just days before the final team announcement was made last week.

Milburn said recent hardships made this moment even more special than his first Australian selection four years ago.

“I’ve worked really hard and I’ve had so many obstacles in my way this season and I’ve just hung on and not given up, and it’s paid off for me,” he said.

Tendinitis in the hamstring meant the 26-year-old had just four opportunities to compete this season and he left it until the last qualification race on the Gold Coast to show selectors he was up to the challenge. While the time was significantly slower than his best, a convincing victory over other Australian hopefuls including Sean Wroe proved enough.

Milburn said the chance to prove himself against almost all of Australia’s best 400m runners at the Gold Coast meet had played to his advantage.

“I perform at my best when the pressure’s on and that’s what I needed. It came down to that one race,” he said.

“I’ve just qualified with minutes to spare, or with days to spare, I just got myself in the last spot. It’s just a relief. You work so hard in these sports and when you don’t get the results you’re after it can be quite disheartening . . . It’s just really really good to get those results.”

Milburn is not exaggerating when he says he claimed the final spot on the team. The Commonwealth Games gold medallist understands he is sixth in the relay squad pecking order, with only the top four to take to the track in London.

“At the moment I’m the bench warmer . . . So by the time the Games come around I want to be in that top four and actually get a run,” said Milburn.

The days following the announcement have been a mad scramble to organise time off work, fill out page after page of paperwork and arrange races in Europe in the lead-up to the Games.

With such limited preparation those races will be vital if Milburn is to approach anything near his peak when the relay heats are run on August 9.

“I’ve only had four races so far [this year] and I’ve improved with every one so if I can get a few more races over in Europe hopefully I’ll get myself into some top form by the time the Games come around,” said Milburn.

Unlike in Beijing, Australia's track and field team will be in the village from the beginning of the London Games and Milburn is relishing the opportunity to be part of the opening ceremony and experience the atmosphere of the event.

“I’m really looking forward to just taking in that Olympic spirit and getting excited for my race,” said Milburn.

"Let's Go While We're Young"


airtight wrote:Going on current form, Joel needs to be justin 46.5 shape and he will make the squad.......if it gets selected for London.

Given it was the 16th May and Joel hadn't even had a start yet....great call airtight - right on the money!

"Let's Go While We're Young"

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