Alex Rowe aiming for world champs qualifier at Canberra Track Classic

Time is of the essence for Australian 800-metre record holder Alex Rowe, and the medical student has vowed to back Canberra to host the national championships if he runs a fast time at the AIS Track on Saturday.
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Rowe holds the record along with Ralph Doubell, who set the mark of one minute 44.4 seconds at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico, and the 22-year-old wants to hit the ground running at the Canberra Track Classic on Saturday to book his place to the world championships in Beijing in August.

With his medical studies set to ramp up a notch in 2015, Rowe will have limited time to travel and compete abroad, making the Australian domestic season of the utmost importance to qualify for the worlds.

“Getting the qualifier here in Australia is a bit more important than it has been in previous years, which makes Canberra just another opportunity to try and get that qualifier,” Rowe said.

“I’d like to hit the ground running in Canberra because it’s an amazing track … but with subsequent runs you do improve. I like to start the season at a high level and then improve.”

But he also has an eye on regaining the national title he lost to Josh Ralph last year.

He won the title in 2013 and missed the feeling of being on top of the podium when he finished second to Ralph.

Like many athletes, Rowe loves running in Canberra due to the typically fast conditions and said he’d love for the Canberra Track Classic to become a permanent fixture on the Athletics Australia calendar.

Not just for himself, but also to gain publicity for the sport – records create interest.

But the Australian Sports Commission is currently reviewing AA, which is expected to be completed at the end of February or early March.

It will decide the organisation’s structure going forward and they can’t commit to continuing the CTC until they know the review’s outcome.

But Rowe said he’d back it to even host the nationals – if he runs a good time on Saturday.

“It wouldn’t be a bad atmosphere and the size of the venue is also fantastic because it’s not a massive, massive venue that dwarfs [everything],” he said.

“I’ll run here tomorrow night [Satruday] and I’ll give you more details about whether nationals should be here – if I run fast then you’ll know what the answer will be.”


Saturday: At the AIS Track, from 3.30pm.

Tickets $10, under-18 free.

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