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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Brian Roe says future is bright for Australia’s 4x100m relay team

Brian Roe says future is bright for Australia’s 4x100m relay team

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Trae Williams in action at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships.Source:News Corp Australia

Athletics administrator Brian Roe says future is bright for Australia’s 4x100m relay team

By Simeon Thomas-Wilson
Hobart Mercury
March 13, 2016

THE nation’s most respected athletics official, Brian Roe, says Australia has the cattle for its 4x100m relay team for the next decade after the performances from Trae Williams and Jack Hale at the Australian Junior Championships.

But Roe, an IAAF technical committee member, is urging the national track and coaches to “seize the moment” and formulate a long-term plan to take advantage of the unprecedented depth of Australian male 100m sprinters including his fellow Tasmanian Hale.

“Also Clarke (NSW’s 20-year-old Josh Clarke who has qualified for Rio 2016 with a 10.15 second run) is young enough, the beauty now is that you can have the patience to have a long term plan to take advantage of the depth.”

“Seize the moment and have a long term plan where you can keep these sprinters around for the next 10 years.”

Hale, who is the Australian under-18 100m record holder, ran the third quickest time by an Australian junior athlete ever in Perth on Saturday night but his 10.31 second effort was not enough for victory as Queensland’s Williams raced away to the win and a new Australian under-20 record of 10.27 seconds.

“I got the start perfectly and hit the lead 40m out, but then I didn’t relax as well as I should have,” Hale said.

“I worked too hard at the finish and that’s where I went wrong.”

Williams, 18, broke Matt Shirvington’s previous mark of 10.29 seconds, which had stood since 1997.

While Hale was not able to taste victory, the second place did all but secure the 17-year-old’s spot for the individual 100m alongside Williams at the World Junior Championships in Poland in July — while also demonstrating his continued progress as one of Australia’s most promising athletes.

“This is anecdotal but I would say half the crowd at the track on Saturday night were there for that race and it didn’t disappoint,” Roe said.

Williams and Hale were just ahead of NSW’s Nick Andrews, a hurdler usually, who ran 10.39 seconds with Victoria’s Cameron Searle fourth in 10.59 seconds.

Not in the race were Western Australia’s Lachlan McDermott (personal best of 10.59) who was disqualified for false starting in the heats and the NSW duo of Rohan Browning (pb of 10.47) and Jordan Shelley (10.61 pb) were injured.

“Going back to the race, Andrews wasn’t even in the equation this time last year and that shows what can happen if you have that competition, you can attract people to the group,” Roe said.

The runs by Hale and Williams moved them up to fifth and fourth respectively on the IAAF under-20 rankings for 2016, and would have won the Tasmanian a bronze medal at the 2014 World Junior Championships and Williams a silver.

Roe said while individual glory at Bydgoszcz in July could occur for one of the two promising sprinters, he urged them to put as much focus into the relay as their own event.

“They have to really commit to the relay, they could almost certainly win a medal if they prepare for it properly,” Roe said.

“The individual 100m is always a bit hard to tell because you don’t know what the Caribbean, America and South American kids are running but if they really give the relay a crack they can be really competitive in Poland.

Hale will next compete against the best open sprinters at the Australian Championships in Sydney in three weeks.

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