Jewish athletes achieved excellent results at major meets in Sydney and Melbourne last weekend.
At least six athletes entered the 2022 NSW Open, U23 and Para Track and Field Championships in Sydney, winning three medals between them.
As expected, 29-year-old men’s 400m favourite Steve Solomon won gold and another national title, but it was his fast times that were the talking points.
Hampered for several years by niggling injuries, the Randwick-Botany club member turned back the clock at last year’s Tokyo Olympics when posting a PB of 44.94 seconds to make the semis.
And last weekend, Solomon showed he remains in top form by winning his NSW Open heat in 45.28, and the final in 45.39.
Both times were the fastest recorded by an Australian in a 400m race on Australian soil in 12 years.
Even better, Solomon believes further improvement is ahead.
“I’m in a really heavy training block right now, so the body is a little tired, but I’m really happy with how I came out these last two nights, and executed the race I was hoping to,” he said, adding, “the rest of the season is looking very exciting.”
Also winning gold at the NSW Open was 24-year-old Asics Wests rep Elizabeth Baral, who earned her third consecutive state women’s pole vault title.
Baral cleared 3.80m to edge runner-up Megan Seve (3.40m) from Bankstown, and then had a go at a new PB of 4.00m, but just missed.
Invited to compete in the NSW championship’s para events, Maccabi Victoria Athletics Club member Ori Drabkin, 17, won bronze in the men’s shot put ambulant event, clearing 5.95m, but was even more impressive in track events, setting a new open T35 disability class Australian record, and equalling another one.
Drabkin got a PB of 28.60 in the men’s 200m ambulant heats, followed by another PB in the final (28.52) to place fifth. He also came fifth in the men’s 100m ambulant final, with a PB of 13.97.
“I couldn’t be happier . . . thanks for all your support,” Drabkin commented on social media.
In other NSW championship events, 21-year-old Run Crew member Noah Krecklenberg came 28th in the men’s 800m (1:59.57) and 32nd in the 1500m; Randwick-Botany’s Brody Elbourne, 18, placed 37th in the men’s 800m (2:04.01); and UTS Norths’ Lewis Ehrlich, 36, was 93rd in the men’s 100m (12.19).
In the first of two weekends that make up the Victorian Track and Field Championships, a 10-strong Maccabi Victoria contingent earned two bronze medals and multiple PB times.
Ian Revale – who joined the club last September with plenty of enthusiasm – came third in the U16 boys’ shot put with a mighty clearance of 13.1m, which was a massive 1.35m further than his previous best.
Ben Blecher also won bronze for Maccabi in the U15 boys’ 400m final with a PB of 54.73, achieved at the perfect time, as it was 0.03 of a second faster than fourth-placed Essendon athlete Lachlan Hicks.
Other Maccabi athletes who posted PBs included Asher Grodski (4:38.74) in the U18 men’s 1500m final, Emma de Jong’s 4:44.04 in the equivalent women’s final to place fourth, Skye Edelstein’s 61.38 in the U17 girls’ 400m heats, and Jordan Levy’s 54.16 in the U18 men’s 400m.
Representing Glenhuntly, Maccabiah-bound high jumper Noa Kino won silver in the U20 women’s final, clearing 1.60m.
Praising their performances, Maccabi Victoria Athletics Club president Len Bogatin told The AJN, “They’ve all been terrific, and trained really hard for this – some to just keep getting better at what they do, and some as part of their preparation for the Maccabiah Games.”
The Victorian championships continue this Saturday, while in Sydney, the NSW junior state championships start on Friday night.