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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Cole wins title now sets his sights for Stawell

Cole wins title now sets his sights for Stawell

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Cole sets his sights on a $40,000 Easter gift
Canberra Times
18 Apr, 2011

There's a $40,000 cheque inspiring Australian 400m hurdle champion Brendan Cole to run his best time at Stawell over Easter.

Cole won his fifth national 400m hurdle's title at Olympic Park, in Melbourne, on Saturday night in a time of 50.46sec, more than 0.5sec ahead of Ian Dewhurst in second place.

His next meet will be the historic Stawell Gift where he will run off a 6m handicap.

The AIS athlete thought his mark was a ''bit rough'' but was still going to give it a real ''crack''.

''As much as amateurs muck around and say we're doing pro races and these gifts for fun I don't think for Stawell you can say you're not taking it seriously when there's $40,000 at the end of the track,'' Cole said.

While not overly confident about his own chances he thought Canberra's Mel Breen, who is running off 11m and will be just the fifth women to compete in the famous race, would find it tough to go much further than a semi-final.

A potential Cole-Breen match-up in that semi would be something he would relish.

''That would be hilarious if we did [meet in the semi],'' he said.

''We've had a few training sessions where we've been racing each other.

''I think there might be some fun and dances before the race if we do.''

Athletics Australia will announce the initial Australian Flames team bound for the Korean world championships, starting on August 27, but Cole's name won't be called out.

His national title makes him eligible for qualification but he is yet to run the A-qualifying time of 49.4.

Traditionally his best times don't come in the Australian season as he builds towards the big meets in the European summer.

After Stawell he will compete in Japan, in Shizuoka and Kawasaki, before heading to Europe and has until July 31 to qualify.

Having grown up in Melbourne, Cole was disappointed the nationals marked the end of Olympic Park, which will be torn down to build a training facility for AFL club Collingwood.

He said it was a ''bit sad and nostalgic'' on Saturday night but was looking forward to next year when the event would move to Albert Park the new home for Victorian athletics.

Other results at the nationals included Canberra's Lauren Boden winning the women's 400m hurdles title, while Breen finished second in the 100m.

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