Queensland sensation Ellie Beer in action in April.
Queensland sensation Ellie Beer in action in April.

Aussie track team looks to future with new pups

A 16-year-old Gold Coast schoolgirl headlines 31 debutants in Australia's track and field team for this month's world championships in Doha.

Ellie Beer, who has been selected in the 4x400m relay squad, will be Australia's youngest ever representative at a world championships.

A team of 57 was announced on Monday with the possibility of up to six more athletes being added after the IAAF roll down by the end of the week.

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Dancing hurdler Michelle Jenneke could be a beneficiary of the roll down which is a process based on times throughout the year to ensure full fields at the championships.

Athletics Australia high-performance coach Christian Malcolm said Doha was an important stepping stone for next year's Tokyo Olympics.

"It's a young team and a good opportunity for them to get experience looking ahead to Tokyo next year," Malcolm said.

"I'm quite excited to see how they perform and step up to the plate because they belong on the world stage."

Teenage sensation Ellie Beer competes in the U17 women’s 400m final at the Australian track and field championships at Sydney Olympic Park in April.
Teenage sensation Ellie Beer competes in the U17 women’s 400m final at the Australian track and field championships at Sydney Olympic Park in April.

Doha represents a changing of the guard for the track and field team given the retirement of Olympic champion Sally Pearson who has been a mainstay of the sport for the past 15 years.

In her absence the onus for medals will fall to high jumper Brandon Starc and javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber.

"Losing someone like Sally who has been fantastic, not just for Australian athletics but world athletics, she has been amazing, a legend of the sport but now is a real opportunity for other people to step up," Malcolm said.

"When you talk about experience within a team you've got the likes of Lauren Boden, Henry Frayne, Steve Solomon, these guys are real leaders and can really help the youngsters."

At the other end of the spectrum Malcolm is excited about Beer who ironically surpasses Pearson on the youngest list - the two-time world hurdles champion was also 16 when she was selected in the 4x100m relay for the 2003 Paris world championships.

Champion hurdler Sally Pearson will be a notable absentee.
Champion hurdler Sally Pearson will be a notable absentee.

"She (Beer) is a great athlete, a fantastic person, she has got so much energy and appetite to race, it's really refreshing to see," Malcolm said.

"All she wants to do is go out there and run and seize the opportunity, I think that is great."

Middle-distance star Stewart McSweyn is set to race in the both the 1500m and 5000m while Rohan Browning will be Austalia's sole sprint representative in the 100m.

Michelle Jenneke is still an outside chance to be in Doha.
Michelle Jenneke is still an outside chance to be in Doha.

Young female sprint star Riley Day wasn't considered because of a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, Malcolm also provided an update on Australia's battle to keep teenage star Sasha Zhoya who dominated the national championships earlier in the year.

Zhoya is also eligible to represent France and is still considering his options with a decision likely in the next couple of months.

News Corp Australia

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