We rebooted our blog coverage of Australian athletics in early 2019. In chronological order, here are some of the highlights of our coverage throughout the year.
We got back behind the camera lens at the Victorian Championships in March. The star of the meet was Catriona Bisset. In what was a breakthrough year where she would break the longstanding national 800m record, Bisset showed a glimpse of things to come in winning the Victorian title in a then personal best of 2:03.03 in the windy Lakeside Stadium.
In one of our most popular posts of the year we explained the new qualifying process for the Olympic Games, where approximately half of each field of athletes will be selected based on their IAAF Ranking. We used the performances needed for the up-and-coming sprinter, Jack Hale, as our example.
We welcomed Casey Sims as a contributor just in time for the Queensland Track Classic. She beautifully captured the action from the meet, which was highlighted by a breakthrough run of 10.08 seconds by Rohan Browning, making him the equal third fastest Australian in history.
African athletes swept the medals at the World Cross Country Championships, which we covered courtesy of Getty Images. Joshua Cheptegei took out the men's race and Hellen Obiri the women's, while Australia's top performers were Melissa Duncan ( 26th) and Brett Robinson (30th).
At the Australian Championships there were a number of highlights, with Naa Anang capturing a unique 100m/long jump double, Celeste Mucci the 100m hurdles/heptathlon double and New Zealand's 17-year-old Gus Nketia winning the 100m in a new personal best of 10.17 seconds. At the time, there was a chance that Nketia would choose to represent Australia, as was the hope with the multi-talented Sasha Zhoya, who has chosen to represent France.
The opening round of Athletics Victoria's XCR series was relays held at Jells Park. Featuring athletes from the calibre of Stewart McSweyn to stalwart club runners, the event was a celebration of everything that is great about the Victorian distance running community.
At the IAAF World Relays in Japan, Joshua Ralph and Catriona Bisset teamed up in the new event of the 2x2x400m to win silver. Bisset ran splits of 57.1 and 59.4 second for her two legs, with Ralph covering his in 50.8 and 50.31 seconds respectively.
In a blow for the depths of Australia's sprinting ranks, Trae Williams took up Rugby 7's. The 10.10s 100m man was offered a contract by Rugby Australia through to 2021.
Thanks to our friends at Trackpic we had great coverage of Ashley Moloney setting a new Australian junior record in the decathlon at the Hypomeeting Gotzis with 8038 points to become just the ninth athlete in history to break the 8000 point barrier as a junior. Cedric Dubler passed Moloney on the final event with a strong 1500m performance, to finish with 8185 points.
In what has become a fertile stomping ground for developing Australian athletes, Morgan McDonald and McKenzie Little took out NCAA titles, in the 5000m and javelin respectively.
Australian athletes made the most of the Oceania Championships in Townsville in the middle of the year. A competition that Australia had usually only sent a team comprised of athletes from remote locations, the event had relevance due to the huge (and to be frank when considering the quality of the competition, disproportionate) point-scoring opportunity available under the IAAF Rankings system. A strong Australian team dominated the meet.
In August the great Sally Pearson announced her retirement. A great career - winning Olympic gold and silver medals as well as two world titles - came to an end following persistent injury. We celebrated Sally's career in photos.
The Athletics Victoria XCR series concluded with the relays around Melbourne's spiritual home of distance running, The Tan. Lisa Weightman was the fastest female performer on the day, with a swift 12:15 clocking.
We had daily coverage of the World Championships in Doha thanks to Getty Images. There were several notable performances across the meet, including a world record to Delilah Muhammad in the 400m hurdles, but for Australians, the highlight was Kelsey-Lee Barber's victory in the javelin.
Delilah Muhammad, having broken the 400m hurdles world record twice during the year and claiming the world title, was crowned the IAAF Female Athlete of the Year. On the men's side, the peerless Eliud Kipchoge won the men's crown, running 1:59:42 for the marathon distance at the INEOS Challenge as well as setting a course record of 2:02:37 in winning the London Marathon.
Michael Shelley announced his retirement at the end of October. The dual Commonwealth Games marathon gold medallist has shown versatility during his career, with PBs ranging from 3:39.90 for 1500m to 2:11:15 for the marathon, but it was on the roads that the Queenslander shone.
The year for us wrapped up with covering our 10th Zatopek:10 meet. And what a meet it was! Held at the suburban Box Hill Athletics Track due to Lakeside Stadium being resurfaced, the village green atmosphere suited fans and athletes alike.
The 'Mayor of King Island', Stewart McSweyn, made the most of the metronomic pacemaking and conditions to record his third successive Zatopek win, in a national record of 27:23.80. Genevieve Gregson, in her debut over 25 laps, took out the women's race in 32:47.83.