Tokyo 2020 Team members Stewart McSweyn and Jessica Hull both smashed Australian records at the Doha Diamond League meet, while Aussie Cyclists secured top-10 finishes in Imola, Italy.
Athletics – Doha Diamond League
September 25 is a date etched into the Australian athletics landscape since Catherine Freeman won gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 on ‘Magic Monday’, but McSweyn and Hull have added to its rich history by setting new national records 20 years on.
Six Australians competed in Doha; fresh off bettering Craig Mottram’s 3000m Australian national record in Rome, McSweyn toed the line in the 1500m with a blistering finish to clock a time of 3:30.51, breaking Ryan Gregson’s Australian record from 2010 (3:31.06).
The national record is the fourth McSweyn has added to his name, making him the first Australian man to ever hold the 1500m, 3,000m and 10,000m national records simultaneously.
But records are a nice bonus for McSweyn, who has far greater plans.
“The Olympics is the big one every four years,” he said.
“I’ll train through the Australian domestic season to get ready for Tokyo next year because I know I’ve still got to get a lot better if I want to be right around the medals in Tokyo.”
Hull continued her emergence on the world stage in a 3,000m race of supreme quality.
The 23-year-old has had a tremendous season – notably claiming the 1500m and 5000m Australian national records, and Hull showed grit to finish tenth place in 8:36.03, breaking Benita Willis’ 2003 record.
Hull’s haul of national records now includes the 1500m, 3,000m and 5,000m outdoor records, along with the 1,500m indoor record.
Cycling – 2020 UCI Road World Championships, Italy
Rohan Dennis and Grace Brown both finished fifth in their respective time trials in Imola, with Michael Matthews finishing seventh in the Men’s Road Race.
In the women’s event, Brown produced a stunning ride to claim the top five finish in her debut World Championship time trial.
Brown launched from the start gate to cover the 31.7km course in a time of 41mins 21.3seconds, the fastest time of the day to put her in the hot seat.
However, Anna van der Breggen (NED) would eclipse the Australian’s time and claim the rainbow jersey in a winning time of 40mins 20secs, followed by Marlen Reusser and Ellen van Dijk.
“I was realistically aiming for top 10, so I’m really happy with the results,” said Brown. “This is pretty epic. It’s the first time that I’ve been able to step up on my own accord and ride for myself and show where I stand against the best girls in the world.”
The world’s best men set a fast pace over the 31.7-kilometre time trial in the men’s race, and reigning World Champion Dennis was the final rider to complete the course. He was second fastest after 14.9km but would eventually finish 39-seconds behind the winner. Luke Durbridge finished 15th.
In the men’s road race, Michael Matthews and Richie Porte produced a gallant effort to be amongst the major contenders in the dying kilometres of a punishing men’s road race. Matthews claimed seventh overall, while Porte, fresh off his historic Tour de France podium finish, finished 25th.
In the women’s road race, Lucy Kennedy was Australia’s best place finisher in 28th overall, which was won by Dutch rider Anna Van Der Breggen.
On the eve of the Championships, two-time road race medallist Amanda Spratt was forced out after injuries sustained in a crash in the Giro Rosa earlier in the month.