BALLARAT walker Jared Tallent smashed his personal best by more than ten minutes to confirm his nomination for the Beijing Olympics with a dominant display in the national 50km walk championship.
The 23-year-old produced the third-fastest time ever by an Australian to stop the clock at 3 hours 44 minutes and 45 seconds, well inside his previous best of 3:55:08 and 15 minutes under the Olympic A-qualifying time of 4 hours.
Sydney 20-year-old Adam Rutter received an early 21st birthday present, easily going under the A-qualifying time, recording 3:52:49 to finish second in his debut attempt at the gruelling 50km distance at Melbourne’s Albert Park this morning.
Olympic Games 20km nominee Luke Adams carved more than 10 minutes off his lifetime best to finish third in 3:53:19 in a high quality race where the first five walkers finished inside the 4 hour standard required for Olympic Games consideration.
Veteran Duane Cousins was fourth (3:55:57) with his world championships teammate Chris Erickson fifth (3:59:02).
Tallent, the bronze medallist over 20km at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, missed selection for the 50km event at this year’s world championships in Osaka and was disqualified in the 20km when ensconced in the top six with five kilometres remaining.
“I was confident going into the race today and wanted to win by a long way to make up for the disappointment of not being picked for the 50km in Osaka,” he said.
“After what happened in Osaka, I have been working on my technique a lot and it was really solid today.
“I didn’t get a report and I felt great apart from the last couple of laps (of the 2km circuit).”
Winning the trial in an A-qualifier will earn Tallent automatic nomination when the Athletics Australia selectors meet tomorrow, whilst Rutter, who will celebrate his 21st birthday on Christmas eve, is expected to receive the remaining spot in what would be the ideal holiday season gift.
World champion Nathan Deakes has been pre-nominated for 50km selection and was exempted from participating in the trial.
The winning time is the 11th fastest in the world this year and is a pointer to Tallent’s potential to finish inside the top ten in Beijing.
Only world record holder Deakes (3:35.37) and world cup winner Simon Baker (3:43.13) have gone faster on the Australian all-time list.