Saturday, April 6, 2013

Canberra hurdler jumps into contention

Lauren Boden.

Lauren Boden. Photo: Stu Forster

An exhausting two-week training block has Olympian Lauren Boden poised to cement her place in Australia's world championship team, coach Matt Beckenham said.

But while the hurdler will have a chance to run the required world championships B-qualifying time in Melbourne on Saturday, Boden is targeting success at the national championships next weekend as her No.1 priority.

Just a month after ending a seven-month break from hurdles, Boden will race in at the Melbourne world challenge to fine-tune her performance before aiming for national glory.

The 24-year-old was forced off the track after the London Olympic Games because of a torn patellar tendon. Beckenham decided the best move was to ease her back into training and Boden stayed away from hurdles until the start of last month.


Now she's back and Beckenham backed one of his stable stars to impress in Melbourne.

''We were really cautious and made sure we did all the right things,'' Beckenham said.

''She opened [the season] with a 56.99 seconds [for the 400-metre hurdles] and that's really impressive because she wasn't even close to being fit.

''It's been full-on 400-metre hurdle hard yakka and stuff we haven't done … it's designed to make her run faster and a lot of the signs are that she's at another level.

''If everything aligns there's no reason why she can't get the time on Saturday, but we're aiming to nail it at the national championships.''

Beckenham is in the last month of his coaching contract at the Australian Institute of Sport.

It's still unclear what role he will have after April 30 with the new Athletics Australia structure.

Beckenham - who had three athletes race at the London Olympics last year - met with AA officials in Melbourne on Friday night and is optimistic about his future.

Beckenham will have two more athletes competing in Melbourne.

Stable newcomer Alexander Carew will run in the men's 400 metres with the aim of securing a spot in Australia's relay team while Chloe Jamieson will run in the 400-metres hurdles with Boden.

Meanwhile, 100-metre sprint queen Melissa Breen is expected to be back in full training in two weeks when she recovers from an injured calf.
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