Youthful Brilliance Shines at Maurie Plant Meeting: A Night of World-Class Athletics in Melbourne

Posted by: Watch Athletics

The Maurie Plant Meeting, marking the exhilarating commencement of the 2024 World Athletics Continental Tour Gold level series, unfolded on Thursday, February 15 at the picturesque Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, showcasing a series of world-class performances that captivated athletics enthusiasts worldwide. Amid the high-stakes competitions, Stewart McSweyn and Jake Wightman delivered standout performances in the John Landy Mile, overcoming the spirited challenge posed by the 17-year-old prodigy, Cameron Myers. In the sprint arena, Zoe Hobbs clinched victory in the 100m, outpacing the newly-crowned Australian record-holder Torrie Lewis in a breathtaking race. However, the night belonged to the rising stars, echoing the season's theme of youthful dominance. Claudia Hollingsworth, a promising young talent, stole the spotlight with her resounding and emphatic win in the 800m, leaving behind seasoned competitors Abbey Caldwell and Catriona Bisset. This event not only highlighted the depth of talent in athletics but also set the tone for a season brimming with potential and exciting prospects.

Men’s John Landy Mile: 

Oceanian record holder Stewart McSweyn from Australia won a close win in the men’s mile in 3:52.00 holding off Eugene 2022 world 1500 metres champion Jake Wightman, who continued his comeback from injury with a second place in 3:52.11. 

Stewart McSweyn: “It’s hugely important. It’s such an honour to run in a meeting named after Maurie Plant. To have a massive crowd here is justice to what Maurie meant to the sport. Hopefully it just keeps building year to year. It was a difficult race with great competitors. I wanted to make sure I performed well and that was a good hitout to start the season. It was a bit up and down. The conditions were tough. I just had to hold back because I knew Jake would come and when he was on my shoulder, I just said: ‘I can’t let it go’. 

Australian 17-year-old rising star Cameron Myers smashed his PB by three seconds to 3:52.44 beating Samuel Tanner from New Zealand (3:53.16). Myers came close to the fastest ever time ever run by a 17-year-old athlete, set by Norway’s Jackob Ingebrigtsen.

Women’s 800 metres: 

Eighteen-year-old Claudia Hollingsworth from Australia won the women’s 800 metres improving her Australian under 20 record for the second time in the space of a week by almost two seconds to 1:59.81 (the first sub-2 minutes performance of her career) ahead of the two fastest women in Australian 800 metres history, Abbey Caldwell (2:00.54) and Oceanian record holder Catriona Bisset (2:01.41). Hollingsworth, who will turn 19 next April, won the Oceanian title in the 800 metres in 2022 and improved her 1500m PB to 4:04.45 earlier this year in Adelaide. 

Claudia Hollinsworth: “I am just taking it race by race and seeing how far I can go. Each race I surprise myself which is what I am aiming to do, but I am always trying to go that step further. I have never properly celebrated after a win before, but crossing that line all the emotions came out and recognizing that winning is such an exciting feeling, especially with this atmosphere, it is pretty cool and pretty crazy”. 

Women’s 100 metres: 

Oceanian 100 metres record holder and World Championships semifinalist Zoe Hobbs from New Zealand won the women’s 100 metres in 11.34 into a headwind of -1.2 m/s. Torri Lewis, who set the Australian record with 11.10 in Canberra last January at the age of 19, took second place in 11.40. 

Women's High Jump

Olympic silver medallist Nicola Olyslagers from Australia won the women’s high jump with a meeting record of 1.99m in cool and windy weather conditions in her second competition of the 2024 season after equalling her Oceanian record with 2.03m in Canberra last January. Nineteen-year-old Australian jumper Erin Shaw, who finished fourth at the World under 20 Championships in Cali 2022, placed second with 1.84m in her seasonal debut.  

Olyslagers started the competition at 1.90m when the other competitors had bowed out. Olyslagers then cleared 1.93m and 1.96m in her first attempt and needed three attempts at 1.99m. 

Nicola Olyslagers: “Tonight I think I won the battle. I was really excited to jump 1.99m. Today was like a stake in the ground. The 2.03m was not a fluke. That was the beginning and we are building”. 

Men’s 5000 metres: 

Jack Rayner from Australia won the men’s 5000 metres in 13:16.54 beating his compatriot Matthew Ramsden (13:17.22) and Robin Hendrix from Belgium (13:19.97). 

Men’s discus throw: 

Connor Bell from New Zealand won the men’s discus throw with 65.18m beating last year’s Diamond League winner Matthew Denny from Australia, who produced his best throw of 65.09m in the fifth round. Bell took the third win over Denny in the past year after beating the Australian thrower at the 2023 edition of the Maurie Plant meeting with 66.23m and in Adelaide with 65.93m. European bronze medallist Lawrence Okoye finished third with 60.37m. 

Women’s 5000 metres: 

Australia’s Rose Davies pulled away in the final 600 metres to win the 5000 metres in a meeting record of 14:57.54 ahead of her compatriot Isobel Batt Doyle, who clocked her first time under 15 minutes with 14:59.18 PB and African under 20 record holder Aynadis Mebratu from Ethiopia (15:04.84). 

Davies and Batt Doyle became the fourth and fifth runners in Australian athletics history to break the 15 minutes barrier.   

Women’s 100 metres hurdles: 

Liz Clay from Australia won the women’s 100 metres hurdles in 13.02 on her come-back from an injury ahead of Australia’s second fastest hurdler of all time Michelle Jenneke (13.12) and US Queen Claye (13.16). 

Women’s javelin throw: 

Australian record holder Kathryn Mitchell won the women’s javelin throw with 62.12m in her opening competition of the season beating Tori Peeters from New Zealand (57.35m). Mitchell is targeting her fifth Olympic Games this year. 

Men’s high jump: 

World indoor bronze medallist Hamish Kerr from New Zealand won the men’s high jump with 2.25m before bowing out at 2.30m. 

Women’s discus throw: 

Italian record holder and Olympic finalist Daisy Osakue won the women’s discus throw with 61.57m in her third competition this year.  

Men’s 100 metres: 

Australia’s Rohan Browning won the men’s 100 metres in 10.34 into a headwind of -0.9 m/s beating Sebastian Sultana (10.37) and Joshua Azzopardi (10.40). 

Men’s 200 metres: 

Browning completed the sprint double by winning the Peter Norman Memorial 200 metres race in 20.80 into a -headwind of -1.5 m/s beating Japan’s Tawo Uzawa (21.07). 

Men’s 800 metres: 

James Preston from New Zealand claimed the men’s 800 metres in 1:46.02 holding off Australian middle-distance runners Luke Boyes (1:46.53) and Jack Lunn (1:46.50). 

Women’s long jump: 

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Brooke Bushkuehl from Australia won the women’s long jump with 6.51m beating Samantha Dale by one cm in a close competition. 

Men’s triple jump: 

Connor Murphy from Australia won the men’s triple jump with 16.87m. Murphy is the son of Andrew Murphy, who won the bronze medal in the triple jump at the 2001 World indoor Championships.  

Men’s long jump: 

Christopher Mitrevski won the men’s long jump with a wind-assisted 7.96m (+2.1 m/s) beating Darcy Roper, second with a windy 7.86m.

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