Off hill to Glasgow

IT'S almost a decade ago since Sally Pearson, nee McClellan, sprinted to gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo.

Hammer ace Tim Driesen is warming up for back-to-back Games campaigns

Since those heady days at the Games run at the Latrobe University Bendigo athletics complex in Flora Hill, the hurdling ace has won Olympic gold in the 100m final in London and a world title in 2011.

Pearson, pictured, was a silver medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2013 world titles.

Australia's track and field team of 103 for next month's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow includes several stars who have shone in events at Bendigo over the years.

It was at Epsom and then Flora Hill where Bendigo-raised athlete Tim Driesen broke many records in all four throws - discus, hammer, javelin and shot put.

Driesen will mark a second Games appearance next month.

The national hammer champion the past four years, Driesen was seventh in the hammer throw at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

The South Bendigo Athletics Club member who is based in Canberra will be aiming to surpass a mark of 70m in Scotland.

Pole vaulting ace Joel Pocklington soared higher than any other at the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games.

The national champion the past three years, Pocklington has cleared 5.25m at one of the most gruelling, but also exciting disciplines in track and field.

Commonwealth Youth Games, national youth titles, and Victoria Country titles are three of the biggest events run at LUBAC.

Those bound for Glasgow who have shone in Bendigo at various meets include shot put champion Dani Samuels, javelin thrower Kathryn Mitchell, Victoria Mitchell in the steeplechase, and sprinter Michelle Cutmore.

A class performer in the 400m hurdles, Jess Gulli is in contention for the 4 x 400m relay to be run in Scotland.

Ballarat's distance running champion Collis Birmingham won the Bendigo Bank Dragon Mile in the centre of Bendigo before the Easter gala parade in 2003.

His record includes Olympic Games appearances at London and Beijing, and three world championship campaigns.

Birmingham was selected for the 1500m and 5000m for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Hurdles ace Tristan Thomas will contest the 400m event in Glasgow.

He has competed in Bendigo as has decathlete Stephen Cain.

Australia's team for the Para events in Glasgow includes Richard Colman in the 1500m. Colman powered around the Bendigo track at an Athletics Bendigo championships day a couple of summers ago.

We have seen some of the country's best grace the LUBAC complex over the years.

In a way, big or small, Bendigo was on the journey to more glory.  


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