In-form high jumper Eleanor Patterson and Tokyo Olympics decathlon bronze medallist Ash Moloney are among a record 16-strong Australian team for the world indoor athletics championships in Belgrade.
Patterson has made a flying start to the year as the overall winner of the World Indoor Tour in the women’s high jump.
The 25-year-old old broke the Australian indoor record with a clearance of 1.99m in Birmingham last month and will be among the gold-medal favourites for the March 18-20 world titles in the Serbian capital.
“It’s been a fun experience competing indoors and certainly fantastic to start with an indoor record and equalling my PB,” she said.
“It’s been a good start to my year and my season and I am excited for what is to come, and I’m looking to continue to build upon everything I do.”
Moloney will contest the heptathlon in Belgrade in his first indoor competition, where he is expected to shine in the 60m sprint, 60m hurdles and the field events.
Australia will be well represented in the middle-distance events by a host of world-class performers including Stewart McSweyn (1500m and 3000m), Ollie Hoare (1500m), Linden Hall (1500m), Jess Hull (1500m and 3000m) and Catrona Bisset (800m).
“We’ve had some great success at these championships over the years, with 21 medals won, including seven gold, and we’re looking forward to seeing how this group of athletes fare against some of the best in the world, in what is a very different setting to the competition we host domestically,” Athletics Australia general manager Andrew Faichney said.
“This team is one that has a real mix of youth and experience.
“Most of these athletes made their Olympic debut last year in Tokyo and many have spent the last few months putting their learnings from last year into practice throughout the World Indoor Tour season.”
Sprint star Rohan Browning experienced hamstring tendon irritation after racing in Adelaide last month and has decided to give the world indoors a miss, mindful of a busy year ahead including the world championships in Oregon and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Tokyo Olympics high jump silver medallist Nicola McDermott also made herself unavailable for selection.
AUSTRALIAN WORLD INDOOR ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM
Women: 800m Catriona Bisset. 1500m: Linden Hall, Jessica Hull. 3000m: Lauren Ryan, Jessica Hull. 60m Hurdles: Liz Clay. High jump: Eleanor Patterson. Pole vault: Nina Kennedy.
Men: 400m: Tom Willems. 800m: Charlie Hunter. 1500m: Ollie Hoare, Stewart McSweyn. 3000m: Matthew Ramsden, Stewart McSweyn. 60m hurdles: Nick Andrews, Chris Douglas. Pole vault: Kurtis Marschall. Heptathlon: Ash Moloney.