Australian men’s 4x100m team qualifies for Paris Games

John Salvado |

Sprint champ Sebastian Sultana has helped Australia qualify in the relay for Paris 2024.
Sprint champ Sebastian Sultana has helped Australia qualify in the relay for Paris 2024.

Rising teen sprint star Sebastian Sultana will get to live the dream in Paris after Australia qualified both blue-riband 4x100m relay teams at an Olympics for the first time in 24 years.

A youthful quartet of newly crowned Australian individual 100m champ Sultana, Jacob Despard, Calab Law and Joshua Azzopardi finished second behind South Africa in their repechage heat in 38.46 seconds at the World Relays in the Bahamas on Sunday (Monday AEST).

The top two in each of the three repechage races joined the eight finalists in getting automatic starts at the Paris Games in early August.

Australia’s women’s team had booked their spot 24 hours earlier and backed that up by finishing fifth in the final on Sunday.

Sultana, 19, shot to prominence last month in Adelaide when he took down long-time Australian sprint standard bearer Rohan Browning to win a first national 100m title.

Browning will be available to bolster the relay squad in Paris and is also well placed to again contest the individual 100m at the Games.

“The race was really smooth, I was very confident after the heat yesterday and knew we could get it done,” said Sultana.

“It feels absolutely incredible to have qualified for the Paris Olympics, fulfilling a childhood dream.”

After breaking the national record for the second time this year with a flying effort of 42.83 in the heats on Saturday, the women’s squad of Ebony Lane, Bree Masters, Ella Connolly and Torrie Lewis couldn’t quite match that time in the final.

But a fifth-placed finish in 43.02 behind gold medallists and perennial relay powerhouse the United States (41.85) still bodes well for a potential Olympic podium finish.

“We’re a definite medal chance in Paris,” said Masters.

“There’s a lot that we can do to improve upon that race so that we can be one per cent better, so we are really confident.”

Bree Masters
Bree Masters reckons Australia is well placed to win a medal in the sprint relay in Paris. (AP PHOTO)

Not since the home Sydney Games in 2000 has Australia claimed spots in both Olympic sprint relays.

The inexperienced Australian 4x400m squads were unable to match those efforts in Nassau, although the women were somewhat unlucky to be drawn in the fastest of the three repechage heats.

Their time of three minutes 28.05 seconds would have been enough to finish in the top two in either of the other heats.

There are still two vacancies to be filled in the men’s and women’s 4x400m fields for the Paris Games by the June 30 cut-off.

AAP