Hollingsworth among four Olympic rookies for Paris

John Salvado |

Claudia Hollingsworth has stormed home to win the 800m title at the national championships.
Claudia Hollingsworth has stormed home to win the 800m title at the national championships.

Middle-distance sensation Claudia Hollingsworth and long jump surprise packet Chris Mitrevski are among four Olympic rookies who locked in their spots for the Paris Games with standout performances at the Australian track and field championships.

Hollingsworth turned 19 on Friday and enjoyed the most welcome of late birthday presents when she stormed to victory in a world-class 800m final in a personal best of one minute 58.40 seconds.

The selectors were also hugely impressed with runner-up Abbey Caldwell’s second-placed finish in 1:59.01.

The other first timer named in the first tranche of athletes on Sunday was national record holder Lauren Ryan in the 10,000m.

Peter Bol (800m), Jessica Hull (1500m), high jump queens Nicola Olyslagers and Eleanor Patterson and discus titan Matthew Denny can also start packing for Paris after Australian chef de mission Anna Meares called out their names in Adelaide.

The final track and field team is expected to number roughly 70 by the end of the qualification period on June 30.

The women’s two-lap final was billed as the event of the national championships and it more than lived up to expectations.

National record holder Catriona Bisset made the early running, but it was young tyros Hollingsworth and Caldwell duelling it out in the final straight.

Claudia Hollingsworth.
Claudia Hollingsworth powered away to win the 800m in Adelaide. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

“It’s pure elation, just a huge weight off my shoulders,” said Hollingsworth, whose decision to prioritise the 800m over the 1500m this weekend was fully vindicated.

“I’ve been thinking about this one race for so long now and just to have it over with is so exciting.

“Now I can relax and really focus on the rest of the season. It’s pure joy.”

Bol has battled hamstring soreness for much of the domestic season, but he hung tough to finish second in the men’s 800m final in 1:45.06 behind surprise winner Luke Boyes (1:44.73).

But because Boyes missed the automatic qualifying standard by three hundredths of a second, he could not be included in the Games team straight away along with Bol, who was fourth in the Tokyo Olympics final.

Peter Bol and Luke Boyes.
Luke Boyes edged out Peter Bol to win the Australian 800m title. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

“That’s probably the fastest I’ve run in a while and it feels good,” said Bol.

“Just great getting this out of the way.

“Now I go out to America, do another month of training and then head to Europe and compete with the big boys and hopefully we get three Australians (in the men’s 800m) at the Olympic Games.”

Olyslagers, the recently-crowned world indoor champ and Tokyo Olympics silver medallist, claimed a dominant victory in the high jump with 2.01m.

She then had three unsuccessful cracks at 2.06m,  which is just 3cm short of the world record which has stood since 1987.

Nicola Olyslagers.
Nicola Olyslagers was a dominant winner of the high jump. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

Patterson, the 2022 world champion, was second (1.95m) with the promise of much better to come in the next few months.

If Olyslagers’ world-class performance was pretty much expected, the same could hardly be said of Mitrevski in the long jump.

The 27-year-old Victorian added 11cm to his PB with a huge leap of 8.32m which would have been good enough to clinch a medal at every Olympics since 1992.

“It definitely felt like a PB,” said Mitrevski, whose previous best was 8.21m.

“I don’t know what 8.30 feels like because I’ve never done it before but it felt better than any jump I’ve never done.”

Australia’s fastest woman Torrie Lewis won the women’s 200m in 23.05 after clocking a slick 22.94 in the semis earlier in the day.

Calab Law won the men’s 200m in 20.54.

FIRST GROUP OF ATHLETES NAMED IN PARIS OLYMPIC TEAM:

Women

800m: Claudia Hollingsworth, Abbey Caldwell

1500m: Jessica Hull

10,000m: Lauren Ryan

100m hurdles: Michelle Jenneke

High jump: Nicola Olyslagers, Eleanor Patterson

20km walk: Jemima Montag, Rebecca Henderson

Men

800m: Peter Bol

Long jump: Chris Mitrevski

Discus: Mattew Denny

20km walk: Kyle Swan, Rhydian Cowley

AAP