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Athletics - 06. December 2007.

Schools out and students are heading to Sydney

To be held at Sydney Olympic Park from December 6 – 9, the event will see the nation’s top-level junior athletes represent their state and potentially qualify for the 12th IAAF World Junior Championships to be held in Poland in July 2008.

An integral part of Athletics Australia’s development pathway and as an event that has been on Athletic Australia’s calendar for over 80 years, the event has seen its fair share of records and personal best performances achieved.

In records that still stand today, Jana Pittman had a thrilling meet at the 1999 All Schools in Sydney achieving national records in both the U/18 400m (51.80) and 400m hurdles (53.23).

In Melbourne in 2001, Scott Martin performed well coming out on top with an U/20 national record of 19.78m for the shot put. This record still stands today and one must wonder how many athletes are hungry to overtake Martin’s and other previous achievements at the event.

Almost 20 years ago in 1988, a number of athletes that competed at the Australian All Schools went on to become household names. Jane Saville won the walk, Melinda Gainsford took out the 100m, Kyle Vander-Kuyp won gold in the 100m hurdles, and in the field, hammer thrower Stuart Rendell commenced his gold medal collection.

With the 2008 IAAF World Junior Championships team to be finalised, the next group of Australian athlete’s will be looking to shine in their events as they seek to impress national selectors with their performances.

A popular and competitive event among the nation’s students and following the online trend, the 2007 All Schools and Youth Athletics Championships has created much debate and talk on Internet blogs and forums. Names and performances have been hotly debated but it won’t be until the first events are held that we will be certain of the stand out performances and athletes ready to write their name in the history books.

“The Australian All Schools and Youth Athletics Championships are an exciting time for junior athletes around Australia. The opportunity to represent their state at such a high level is a wonderful motivator for these athletes to continue their training and preparations and aim to be selected into Australian track and field teams in the near future,” said Sara Mulkearns, Athletic Australia’s National Youth Performance Manager.

“The development programs and pathways set in place strongly support junior athletes developing their skills and provides some anticipation as we look towards the next generation of athletes within the sport”.

One athlete that has been in top form recently is Ryan Gregson (NSW) who only days ago broke the under-18 1500m record with a time of 3:43.84. In addition to this, he bettered Craig Mottram’s under-20 3000m record by a second-and-a-half earlier this month. In July, Gregson finished an impressive fifth in the 1500m event at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Queensland’s Lauren O’Sullivan will also be an athlete to watch, having broken a number of Sally McLellan’s state under age records. The 15-year-old will be contesting both the 100m and 200m events in Sydney. With positions on the Australian team for the World Junior Championships still to be finalised, competition is guaranteed to be fierce.

Live results from the event will be available on the Athletics Australia website at www.athletics.com.au.

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