Fast-improving youngster Rose Davies has rocketed into Olympic calculations with a commanding victory at the Australian 10,000m championships in Melbourne.
The 21-year-old NSW runner only gained permission to cross the border into Victoria a matter of days ago when COVID restrictions were relaxed.
Davies took full advantage, dominating the latter stages of the national title race on Tuesday night to clock a winning time of 31 minutes 39.97 seconds, smashing her personal best for the second time in two months.
“That was my first big win,” she said.
“I’ve had a couple of seconds so it was nice to come out on top.
“I felt really good the whole race and with a kilometre to go I thought ‘I’ve got this’.
“With 300 metres to go I put everything into it.”
Even though a huge cloud still hangs over the already-postponed Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic, Davies is now daring to dream.
“I took more than a minute off my PB at Launceston in November and I’m not sure what I ran there, but I think I’ve taken another 20 or 25 seconds off my PB again,” she said.
“I definitely think Tokyo is possible.”
The Olympic qualifying standard is 31:25.
In a race which heralded a changing of the guard in Australian women’s distance running, 25-year-old South Australian Isobel Batt-Doyle was second in 31:43.26.
Defending Zatopek:10 champion and pre-race favourite Genevieve Gregson was fourth.
Brett Robinson won his second men’s national 10,000m title – and his first since 2014 – in commanding fashion at Box Hill athletics track.
The 29-year-old powered away from training partner Jack Rayner, crossing the line in 28:00.25 – his second-fastest time over the distance.
“That’s only two seconds off my personal best and I feel there was a lot more there,” said Robinson.
“I think I can get down to the Olympic qualifer (of 27:28) if I had a crack at it in a good race.
“I’m qualified in the marathon for the Olympics, that’s what I’m doing at the moment and that’s what I will be best in.”
Big guns Stewart McSweyn and Patrick Tiernan both skipped Tuesday night’s race, having previously bettered the Olympic qualifying mark.
Jordan Williamsz held off the challenge of former national record holder Ryan Gregson to win the men’s 1500m in 3:39.59.
Vision-impaired athlete Jaryd Clifford broke his own T12 world record, finishing sixth in 3:42.97.
National record holder Linden Hall won the women’s 1500m in 4:04.33.