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Star teen trio in Australian WC team

Teen track tyros Claudia Hollingsworth, Aidan Murphy and Calab Law will do the rare senior-junior double back to back after being included in a 64-strong Australian squad for the upcoming world championships in Oregon.

The 17-year-old Hollingsworth will contest the women’s 800m at the senior world titles in Eugene, while Murphy and Law, both 18, will take on the world’s fastest men in the 200m.

At the conclusion of the world titles on July 24, the bulk of the Australian squad will jump on a flight to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games.

But the three youngsters will be heading in another direction altogether – to Cali, Colombia for the Under-20 world championships in the first week of August.

It’s only been made possible because the biennial senior world championships were pushed back 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although in years gone by the likes of alltime greats Cathy Freeman (1992) and Jana Pittman (2000) have done world juniors-Olympics doubles.

“It’s just very exciting to get picked in the two teams, and it’s still sinking in,” said Hollingsworth, who is winding up her preparations at a school athletics camp on the Gold Coast.

“I will go to Oregon with no outside expectations and then I get to find out where I stand against the best runners in the world.

“It’s very cool. I will give it my all and we’ll see what happens.”

Those expectations will inevitably be higher at the world juniors, although Hollingsworth has the perfect sounding board in coach Craig Mottram, who won bronze in the 5000m at the 2005 world championships.

“We’ll be taking it one race at a time and I’ll be focused on competing as well as I can,” Hollingsworth told AAP.

“It’s also great just to get the chance to go overseas again.”

Australia’s biggest names – including Tokyo Olympics medallists Nicola Olyslagers (high jump), Ash Moloney (decathlon) and Kelsey-Lee Barber (javelin) – all booked their spots in the squad earlier this year.

Barber is the only reigning world champion in the team, having claimed gold in Doha in thrilling circumstances back in 2019, while Jemima Montag is the world’s top-ranked female walker this year.

The squad is particularly strong in the middle-distance events with the likes of Peter Bol and Catriona Bisset (800m), Stewart McSweyn, Olly Hoare and Linden Hall (1500m) and Jessica Hull (1500/5000m) all genuine world-class competitors.

McSweyn has had an interrupted build-up after suffering an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 booster shot in February.

But he bounced back to form and fitness in the nick of time with a strong fourth-placed finish in the 3000m at last week’s Stockholm Diamond League meet.

“It’s a huge honour to be able to pull on the green and gold for not one but two championships this year,” said McSweyn, who had been diagnosed with inflammation around the heart after the booster shot.

“There is no greater honour in our sport so it’s an absolute privilege to be able to do it twice this year.”

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