Aussie track and field stars to shine - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aussie track and field stars to shine

By John Salvado 30/08/2007 05:59:42 AM Comments (0)

The stars of the Australian team will be on show at the world athletics championships.

And for once, Craig Mottram and world-leading pole vaulters Steve Hooker and Paul Burgess won't be taking centre stage.

That honour will fall to Jana Rawlinson, who surged to favouritism for a second 400m hurdles world title after dominating her semi-final in 53.57 seconds two days ago.

If the semi-final form holds up, the only genuine challenge in the final (at 2125 AEST) is likely to come from Russian world record holder Yuliya Pechonkina, who also looked comfortable in winning her semi in 53.82.

Only three months after returning to racing following the birth of her son Cornelis in December, Rawlinson has predicted she will have to beat Debbie Flintoff-King's 19-year-old Australian record of 53.17 to win gold.

"The track is running quick ... the other girls have all run low 53s this year so on this track there could be a few of us sub-53," said the 24-year-old Rawlinson.

Mottram is looking to finish in the top two of his 5,000m heat which also includes the two most recent world champions - Ben Limo and Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya.

Mottram won a surprise bronze in this event two years ago in Helsinki and is in the form of his career.

"You don't necessarily have to be in your best form to win something like this, you just have to have all the right ammunition," he said.

"I've got more than I had last year and in 2005.

"I'm in a better position to race well here than I've ever been."

The 5,000m final is on Sunday.

Hooker and Burgess will be among the leading medal hopes in the pole vault, where the pre-event favourite is American Brad Walker.

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