Exactly three months out from the Gold Coast 2018 Opening Ceremony, decathlete Cedric Dubler and dual world champion Sally Pearson were the first athletes to step onto the track at Carrara Stadium.
The home to the track and events at the Commonwealth Games has undergone an incredible transformation from an AFL ground to an an IAAF certified athletics track over the past few months.
The two Queenslanders were thrilled by what they saw on Thursday with Pearson saying she was excited by the reinvigorated venue.
“To be able to drive 10 minutes down the road and be in the Commonwealth Games stadium is something so surreal,” she told media. “It’s hard to imagine that this is going to be packed with 35,000 people and hopefully 99 per cent of them, will be cheering for Australians. It’s going to be something really special and I look forward to being able to put on a great show.”
Dubler will experience all that Carrara Stadium has to offer as a decathlete and took the opportunity to wander around and get a feel for where his support will come from.
“That’s one of the things I love about the decathlon, to be able to come to venues and test out the different events and facilities,” he said. “Our race, unlike Sally’s is not over in 12.5 seconds. We spend two long days out here over 10 different events.
“I can already visualize how the stadium’s going to feel with 35,000 people in here cheering for hopefully the Australians. I’m really excited.”
Dubler will also be hoping that the crowd behind the pole vault will also lift him to new heights.
“There’s seating of 9,500 people behind that so that will be a really good atmosphere, the shot put as well.”
The Mondo surface also got Pearson’s tick of approval.
“This definitely feels good,” the defending gold medalist in the 100m hurdles said. “Mondo’s always a really good type of track to lay down because it’s hard and it’s fast. Whatever you can do to make a track fast is always really important if you want to see good results and fast times to show the Australian crowd just what these top international athletes can achieve when they’re at their best.”
Both Dubler and Pearson can confirm their selection on the Australian athletics team for Gold Coast 2018 at next month’s (February 15-18) Australian Athletics Championships & Nomination Trial at the venue. The competition will prove a valuable dress rehearsal for the pair although little will beat the experience of a Commonwealth Games on home soil.
“It’s going to be tough not to give back a lot of emotion to the crowd because they’ll be so excited,” Pearson admitted. “You’ve got to stay focused; you’re standing on that start line and the race takes 12 and a half seconds so you can’t once hesitate or get distracted by anything. For me it’s all about making sure that I can stay focused. I have a job to do when I come here and that’s first and foremost the most important thing.”