13 May 2019
Silver for Ralph at world relays
Competing at the fourth IAAF World Relays over the weekend in Yokohama Japan, Commonwealth Games representative Joshua Ralph and Victorian national 800m champion Catriona Bisset combined to win Australia’s sole medal in the unique 2x2x400m relay. In the traditional relays, two teams have confirmed selection for the 2019 Doha World Championships.
Two new events were added to the World Relays program this year and both featured NSW athletes prominently. Sydney Uni’s former NSW 400m champion, but now an 800m specialists, Joshua Ralph was perfectly suited to the format of the 2x2x400m relay, where an athlete runs two 400s with about 60 seconds rest. The team was mixed gender and included rising 800m star Catriona Bisset the perfect partner. They won silver equalling our highest ever placing at the world relays.
Their splits were:
Another new event was the mixed shuttle relay where two men and two women compete in the 110m hurdles and 100m hurdles. Former Kings’ School students Nick Hough (SYU) and Nick Andrews (CHE) competed with WA’s Brianna Beahan and Victoria’s Celeste Mucci.
Beahan led off with Hough second and Andrews fourth and placed third in their heat in the fourth fastest time overall of 56.40. They lined up in the four-person final, to discover Jamaica were non-starters. But there was disappointment for Australia when Beahan broke at the start - resulting in disqualification for Australia.
Two NSW athletes featured in the men’s 4x400m relay which is in a rejuvenating phase. The early season national leader Central Coast’s Tyler Gunn and Steven Solomon (RBH) were key members of the team. In the heat the Aussies placed fourth in heat one, but moved into the final as one of the fastest non-automatic qualifiers. The achievement, as long as they finished the final, had now guaranteed them selection for the Doha World Championships. In the heat Gunn was the quickest with 45.5, while Solomon anchored in 45.93. Their time of 3:03.53 was the fastest time for six years. In the final they crossed the line in eighth, but were elevated to seventh when America were disqualified. Gunn was again the star running 45.5, while Solomon anchored in 46.4 as the team clocked 3:05.59.
NSW also provided half the mixed 4x400m relay team with Ian Halpin (BM) and Bec Bennett (SYU) were the first two to race for the team which were fourth in their heat and 14th overall in a time of 3:21.80. The athletes split times of 46.9 and 54.6 respectively. Australia needed a top-12 place to secure selection for the Doha World Championships. The event will also make its Olympic debut in Tokyo.
Illawong’s Zach Holdsworth made his debut at a global meet, running the third leg on the men’s 4x100m relay team which placed sixth in heat one in a quick 39.05. They were ranked 17th overall.
The women’s 4x100m placed sixth in the final and also set themselves for Doha. Their heat time of 43.19, third fastest in Australian history, sets them up for potential qualification for Tokyo where if they can’t place in the top-8 in Doha, they will need to qualify via the average of their two best times. A team reserve in Yokohama for the women’s 4x100m team was junior Kristie Edwards (UTS).
David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW
Image: Joshua Ralph (courtesy of Getty Images)