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Rio Young Guns

Monday, 25 July 2016 | Athletics Australia



The 61 athletes that will represent Australia in athletics at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have been preparing around the globe. 

The youngest Rio bound track and field competitors Jessica Thornton (18) and Kurtis Marschall (18) have both shown great form at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Poland and have more to give at the Olympics. 

Marschall claimed the pole vault silver with a clearance of 5.55m. His season best of 5.70m would have won the gold but he can make amends in Rio.  

After three near misses from Marschall at 5.60m, American Deakin Volz produced a life time best of 5.60m to take the gold medal, following up with a clearance of 5.65m. 

The South Australian added that there was plenty of things he learnt and can apply when he heads to the Olympic Games. With Rio 2016 on the horizon, Marschall is excited about a second major championships in the space of a month.  

“I’m glad I get an extra competition, I feel as though I haven’t done 100 percent at my best yet, so hopefully I get another hit out in the qualifying round and the opportunity to jump high there.  

“I’m just looking forward to the experience and I will hopefully take away a lot from that,” Marschall added.  

Thornton has had a sensational season of near misses and these championships were no different for the Youth Olympic Champion. The Sydney sprinter ran a 400m personal best to finish second at the nomination trials in April (52.33) to secure a relay berth but just miss an individual run. 

She was just as close to the Olympic standard in the 200m.  In Poland she ran a personal best in the semi-final and again in the final with a time of 52.05 seconds. She stood on the track looking at the big screen waiting for confirmation of her time and place in a thrilling final.  

“When the legs are lactic as hell it doesn’t help hanging around waiting to know but I’m happy I got another personal best,” Thornton said.  

Her time earnt her fourth place by the smallest of margins. She had the same time as the bronze medallist but missed out from the photo-finish decision.  

“All I came here to do is my best and I’ve done that so I’m happy no matter what.”  

With a focus on making the final, Thornton was thrilled with how she progressed through the rounds.  

“That was the plan, to make sure I got into the final and then do whatever I could. Yesterday did take a lot out of me with the personal best, as it would for anyone, so to get another one is very extraordinary,” Thornton added.  

Marschall and Thornton will join the rest of the athletics section of the 2016 Australian Olympic Team at the pre-Games training camp in Florida on Friday.

With thanks to the AOC