2024 Australian Champs: Day 2 Review

Published Sat 13 Apr 2024

13 April 2024

2024 Australian Champs: Day 2 Review

FRIDAY: A clutch jump by Sydney teenager Mitchell Hatfield in his last high jump competition opportunity, secured a place on the Australian junior team for the World U20 Championships in Peru. But it was a different approach this season that has brought him success.

Many athletes this week have been chasing a World Junior qualifiers at the Australian Athletics Championships in Adelaide, but not so much Mitchell Hatfield, he was in pursuit of individual improvement, a personal best, letting the result take care of the desired outcome. It was a different approach to his 2022/23 campaign where he was chasing a Commonwealth Youth Games standard, but would eventually miss qualification.

“Last year I just focused so much on the outcome and working that number, it was all I thought about,” Mitchell reflected. “Then this season I took it step-by-step.”

Three times this season Mitchell cleared 2.10m, including to win the Australian All Schools title in Perth in December. The standard for the World U20 Championships was 2.13m.

But Mitchell’s goal was just to set a personal best and allow the outcome to happen.

“That is why today I attempted 2.11m, while Lachie skipped that height,” Mitchell said.

On the big stage in his last qualifying opportunity, Mitchell delivered with a second attempt clearance at a new PB of 2.11m.

“2.11 was nice, it gave me a lot of confidence and was a PB.”

He was on his way, but not there yet.

His opening 2.13m attempt was close, but on the second effort, he nailed it.

He bounced off the high jump bags and ran to the fence to celebrate with his support crew.

“It has been a longtime coming, it brought me to tears over there,” said an emotional Mitchell reflecting on the moment.

He spoke about his team of supporters.

“Everybody that does high jump in Australia was telling me don’t worry about it you’ve got this, but namely by coach Leanne Pejkovic, my training partner Matt, who is retiring this year, my family and girlfriend Izzy and her mother Karen. They have all been a big help to me.”

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Despite jumping just below his personal best with a winning leap of 15.19m, 16-year-old Wagga triple jumper Daniel Okerenyang compiled a terrific series in the under-20 event with three jumps over 15 metres. He continues to chase the World Junior standard (15.50m) and will have another opportunity next week in the under-18 triple jump in Adelaide.

Rebounding from her silver medal in the NSW Championships, Tali Baltineshter, 17, won the Australian under-20 javelin title with a throw of 48.35m. She also produced another two throws which would have won the title ahead of the second placed Queenslander, Charlize Goody with 46.80m. It was great progression for Tali who last year won the under-18 title and was third in the under-20 championship.

In a trilling battle in the women’s under-20 3000m steeplechase, Sutherland’s Mia Toohey just took the title and secured automatic selection for the World Junior team with her time of 10:30.47. In the mix was NSW’s Allegra McGiven who lifted to a nine seconds PB time of 10:32.49 to place a terrific third. Australia will send two to the World Juniors.

David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW

Image Mitchell Hatfield clearing 2.13m to win the U20 high jump (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)