The final day of the Australian Athletics Championships at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre has arrived. It's hard to believe that this is going to be my final Nationals post for the year. Mark my words, I've been crying myself to sleep over this as I'm sure you have, but we have to remember that Nationals wouldn't be the climactic, illustrious championship we all know and love, if it occurred 365 days a year. So without further ado, let's get into the final sum up of a championship, where the Tigers have left an indelible mark, on the entire culture of Australian Athletics.
The Open's Boys 200m Finals encapsulates the essence of what Athletics is all about: blood, sweat and tears being shed, to form part of the history of this classic event. Who needs an engraving on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, when your name can be immortalised in Australian athletic track time records. Alex Hartmann was very aware of this sentiment, demonstrating today that he' still go the moves with perfect stride length, an explosive start, and enough speed endurance to make even the fastest land animal of earth (The Cheetah Btw) sneer jealously. Alex ran brilliant times of 20.69 in prelims, and then 20.68 to win the gold medal during the final.
We also had the fantastic Justin Cavanagh perform in today's Open's Men 200m, running stupendous times of 21.10 seconds in prelims, and then 21.14 seconds during the final to come 6th. Excuse me while I get a cold drink to calm my nerves. These results have significantly raised my blood pressure, from the unrelenting, incessant, pride and joy I feel swelling inside me. This is just the beginning for Justin, and subsequently my blood pressure spiking uncontrollably. There will be many more breakthroughs to come in Justin's career.
In the Women's U17 Discus Kajsa Shield returned once again to the field. If the discus was capable of conveying human emotions, I think it would have been communicating significant fear, knowing it was about to be sent flying across the field, to the enthralment of onlookers, yet the consternation of it's being. Kajsa threw a distance of 39.16m to win the silver medal. That's an absolutely solid performance. Kajsa has demonstrated at Nationals that she is able to perform under pressure and deliver where and when it counts. Bravo Kajsa, but mind the birds in the sky. Also congratulations to Kajsa's coach and dad Tony, who did such a fantastic job in bringing Kajsa to the level she is now performing in Athletics.
In the U17 Men's Hammer Throw, we had our very own Jakob Barnett competing. Jakob was able to throw a whopper distance of 44.47m to come 12th in his event. No, you can't get his autograph, unless of course you attend meets to cheer him on. Congratulations Jakob on attaining this achievement, and for pushing yourself to such a high standard of athletic performance all season. Everyone is excited to see you continue to show that anything but innocuous hammer ball, exactly who is the boss. Bravo.
In the Men's Open Javelin Final we had Neil Janse and Oscar Sullivan compete once again. Neil was able to throw a fantastic distance of 70.51m to come fifth, whereas Oscar was able to throw an awesome distance 67.16m. Both these boys have exceptional throwing arms, and are able to bear the weight of these javelin sticks, their dreams, and expectations of the world at large all at once. To that I say, congratulations lads!
Naa Anang, our star female competitor in the 100m, Triple Jump, Long Jump, and hair presentation events, returned to settle old scores in the Women's Open Long Jump Final. Naa jumped a staggering 6.88m, attaining a PB, winning the gold medal, and the Betty Cuthbert Award to top it all off. Yep, don't worry, my jaw is agape too. I now need jaw surgery for the dislocation that occurred when I saw the results. Absolutely superb Naa. She is now the first Athlete in Australian history to have snagged the gold in both the 100m, and the Long Jump simultaneously. Two radically different events: One superb athletic mindset. Naa, you are a true Tiger, and the track, and the world would do well to respectfully fear the legacy that you are setting in motion. Absolutely incredible. Also congratulations to Naa's coach Gary, who's been with Naa through every jump, run and achievement.
Additionally in the Open Women's Long Jump, we had a fantastic performance from Jessie Harper. She soaked in the atmosphere from the Sydney crowd, channeling all the pain, angst and relentless hours of training into one final beautiful moment, where time appeared to stop, freezing into a memory that will forever be embedded in her head, and ours. Jessie jumped a fantastic distance of 6.45m to attain the bronze medal. Congratulations Jessie. Hold my beer, as I need to have a moment of silent contemplation, admiring this result. You have done nothing but impress this season, and we all look forward to watching your future progress in this event.