Matthew Denny in action at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (© David Tarbotton)
The Ukrainian city of Donetsk is calling for 21 young Australians today after Athletics Australia selectors confirmed the team for the IAAF World Youth Championships in July.
Boasting 14 girls and seven boys, the Australian team includes 14 national under-18 champions, an astounding 17 representatives from the Australian Youth Olympic Festival and 15 talented graduates of the Athletics Australia under-17 development squad.
Matthew Denny, winner of six events across two different age groups at the recent Australian Junior Championships, carry’s the team’s best hope of a medal. Having achieved qualifying marks in all three heavy throws events, the 16-year-old decided to contest the Discus and Hammer in Donetsk.
Other medal hopes will come from pole vaulter Nina Kennedey and high jumpers Eleanor Patterson and Joel Baden.
“The World Youths are traditionally one of the first chances for athletes to compete for Australia, and from a high performance perspective it provides a fantastic stepping stone toward the IAAF World Junior Championships and, hopefully, future selection to the senior team,” said Sara Mulkearns, Athletics Australia junior high performance manager.
Since their inception in 1999, the IAAF World Youth Championships have proven a breeding ground for Australian talent, with Jana Rawlinson (1999), Jared Tallent (2001), Sally Pearson (2003) and Dani Samuels (2005) just some of the names to have competed at earlier editions of the meet before going on to medal-winning performances at either the Olympic Games or IAAF World Championships.
Jake Stein (gold, Decathlon), Liz Parnov (silver Pole Vault), Sarah Carli (silver, 400m Hurdles) and Monique Cilione (bronze, Javelin) were the Australian medal winners at the last IAAF World Youth Championships held in Lille. On that occasion Australia achieved an impressive 12 top-eight performances to finish 11th on the placings table from more than 150 countries.
Athletics Australia for the IAAF
Australia’s team for Donetsk
400m: Samuel Baird
High Jump: Joel Baden
Pole Vault: Henri Brown
Long Jump: Henry Smith
Discus Throw: Mathew Denny
Hammer Throw: Mathew Denny, Costa Kousparis
10,000m Race Walk: Nathan Brill
400m: Molly Blakey
800m: Georgia Wassall
2000m Steeplechase: Amy McCormick
High Jump: Hannah Joye, Eleanor Patterson
Pole Vault: Nina Kennedy, Emma Phillippe
Long Jump: Audrey Kyriacou
Shot Put: Yasenaca Denicaucau, Paletina Lemi
Discus Throw: Yasenaca Denicaucau
Hammer Throw: Alexandra Hulley
Javelin Throw: Mackenzie Little
Heptathlon: Alysha Burnett, Aliyah Johnson