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Saturday, 16 July 2016 | Athletics Australia



After dominating the domestic season, claiming both 1500m and 5000m national under-20 titles in Perth, Matthew Ramsden (WA) will be out to mix it with the might of Africa at the IAAF World Under 20 Championships 2016 in Bydgoszcz (POL) from Tuesday 19 to Sunday 24 July.

“The 1500m is always the blue ribbon event at any championships. Rivalries and tactics make this event pretty exciting to watch, so winning it is a real sweet feeling, Ramsden said.

“My aim at the IAAF World Under 20 Championships is to finish on the podium.”

Having given up basketball in preference for athletics, the US college bound track runner, relativity new to the 1500m will be joined by Melbourne University athlete Isaac Hockey (VIC) on the start line.

Australian under-20 10,000m walk champion Tayla-Paige Billington (VIC) will will be targeting a top five finish in Bydgoszcz and heads into the championships 8th on the IAAF 2016 Top List after finishing 18th at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Oregon two years ago as a 17 year-old.

No stranger to international level competition, 10,000m walker Clara Smith (QLD) will join Billington on the start line in Bydgoszcz,

“ My aim is to do everything right leading up to the championships and race to my best ability, aiming to place top five,” Smith said.

The last Australian women to finish top five at these championships was Jessica Rothwell (VIC) on the same track at Bydgoszcz 2008. Rothwell’s time of 44:44.22 still stands as the Australian under-20 record.

In the men’s section Australian under-20 10,000m walks champion Adam Garganis (VIC) will headline Australia’s charge alongside IAAF World Youth Championships 2015 representative Tyler Jones (NSW).

Along with Ramsden, Lauren Ryan (VIC) is the only other middle distance runner competing in two events, the 1500m and 3000m races.

Crowned the 3000m under-20 champion in Adelaide earlier this year, the event is new challenge for Ryan.

“I don’t really have much experience in the 3000m yet, but from what I have had a taste of I love the fact that they always seem to be different.”

More at home in the 1500m, she will be aiming to make the final and is focused on running a personal best.

“The 1500m, I love the fact that yes it is an endurance race but the majority of the time it always comes down to the last stretch.”

2015 Commonwealth Youth Games 1500m champion Amy Harding-Delooze (NSW) ranks 19th on the IAAF 2016 Top List and will have top ranked Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay to chase down. Having produced a 2016 best of 4:00.18.

Athletics Essendon runner Amelia Mazza-Downie (VIC) will join Ryan in the 3000m final on Day Two of competition.

In the 800m, Kenyan born refugee, Joseph Deng, who moved to Australia at aged six could be the surprise packet at these championships for Australia.

In the lead up to the championships Deng,18, produced a personal best of 1:47.90 at the international under-20 meet in Mannheim (GER) last month.

Deng will be joined by Australian under-20 champion Lachlan Barber (VIC) in the two-lap event, who has his eyes firmly set on a spot in the final, also producing a life time best of 1:48.02 in Mannheim.

In the women’s 800m, Victorian pair Sarah Billings and Georgia Hansen will be battling with a wall of talented Ethiopian’s including Habitam Alemu who has a 2016 best of 1:59.14.

Having given her all 12-months ago in Cali Colombia at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Annabel McDermott (NSW) aims to give her all again at Bydgoszcz 2016 in the 5000m event.

“The 5000m is 12.5 laps and that’s what I love! It’s a test of both mental and physical endurance and every race is completely different to the last,” McDermott said.

Australian under-20 3000m Steeplechase champion Beth Croft (NSW) is focused on a top five finish and a massive personal best.

“A top five finish in the steeplechase, run the World University Games qualifier of 10:02 and a big personal best,” Croft said.

National under-20 silver medallist Georgia Winkcup (NSW) is ready for the challenge of racing the 3000m Steeplechase alongside Croft in Bydgoszcz.

“I love the steeple because it challenges both the body and mind as you have to endure 28 hurdles and fling yourself over seven water jumps, all whilst your body is telling you just stop and curl up in a ball on the floor,” Winkcup said.

The 55-strong Australian team will prepare and spend the next week in the host city, Bydgoszcz (POL), before the IAAF World U20 Championships takes place from Tuesday 19 - Sunday 24 July 2016.

Qualifying Rounds:

Day 1

Beth Croft & Georgia Winkcup - 3000m Steeplechase - 9:55am
Matthew Ramsden & Isaac Hockey - 1500m - 10:35am
Sarah Billings & Georgia Hansen - 800m - 11:10am
FINAL - Tayla Paige Billington & Clara Smith - 10,000m Walk - 6:00PM

Day 2

FINAL Lauren Ryan & Amelia Mazza-Downie - 3000m - 8:25PM

Day 4

Lachlan Barber & Joseph Deng - 800m - 10:25am
Amy Harding-Delooze & Lauren Ryan - 1500m - 11:20am

Day 5

Adam Garganis & Tyler Jones - 10,000m Walk - 9:30am
FINAL Annabel McDermott - 5000m - 10:35am