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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Tough time on the track as athletes aim for Moscow

Tough time on the track as athletes aim for Moscow

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Tough time on the track as athletes aim for Moscow

John Salvado, Sydney
The Age
Date April 12, 2013

It goes without saying that missing out on the Australian track-and-field season has been the least of Oscar Pistorius' concerns.

The South African double amputee had been trumpeted by Athletics Australia as the star attraction of the domestic series, but is awaiting trial over the killing of his girlfriend.

An attempt by Athletics Australia to lure US sprint queen Allyson Felix also fell through, while former 100 metres world record holder Asafa Powell pulled out of last weekend's Melbourne meeting after straining his hamstring at the Stawell Gift.

The ill luck has continued to this week's national titles at Sydney Olympic Park, which double as the trials for the world championships in Moscow in August. Dani Samuels, the 2009 discus world champion, has withdrawn with a foot injury.

Reigning Olympic and world 100 metres hurdles gold medallist Sally Pearson is back in training but has yet to resume racing after damaging her hamstring.

Sprinter Melissa Breen (pictured) is out with a calf injury, as is reigning 400 national champion Steve Solomon (back), with discus thrower Benn Harradine (knee) and triple jumper Henry Frayne (hamstring) other prominent absentees.

Steve Hooker will also be missing and the 2008 Olympic pole vault champion has yet to commit to the Moscow world titles. With AA's blessing, Hooker has returned to his US training base.

Pearson and Solomon have already been preselected for the world championships, while Samuels and Breen have bettered the A-qualifying standards.

New AA high-performance director Simon Nathan says the first year of the post-Olympics cycle is traditionally a difficult one. ''It is very challenging to come off an Olympic Games, but it's too early to say if that's part of the issue. But clearly I'd prefer to see everyone lined up and fit and raring to go,'' he said.

In the men's long jump, London Olympics silver medallist Mitchell Watt will square off against Fabrice Lapierre, the reigning Commonwealth and world indoor champion.

Josh Ross is confident he can turn last weekend's narrow 100 metres win over fast-improving Mitchell Williams-Swain and US runner Wallace Spearmon in Melbourne into a time under the A standard of 10.15 seconds.

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