TOP CONTENDER: Exciting Ipswich athletics prospect Rochelle Vidler.
THIS weekend’s Australian All School championships in Canberra have added importance for one of the region’s leading athletes.
Australia’s number one ranked under-18 hammer throw Rochelle Vidler was hoping to contest next year’s World Youth Championships in Kenya.
However, Athletics Australia has decided not to send a team, instead focusing on the Commonwealth Youth and Oceania Games.
“In recent months, the IAAF announced that they will discontinue the IAAF World Under 18 Championships after the 2017 installment, scheduled to be held in Nairobi (Kenya),” a statement from Athletics Australia read.
“The IAAF President, Lord Sebastian Coe, stated at the time that ‘it’s not the best pathway for those athletes at that stage of their career’.
“This change in approach by the IAAF allowed Athletics Australia to reassess its competition offering for under 18 aged athletes in the immediate future and we have decided that we will not send an Australian team to Nairobi 2017.
“From a development perspective, we are of the opinion that the under 20 age group is the most appropriate age group to expose athletes to a global event, in this case, the IAAF World Under 20 Championships.”
While 15-year-old Vidler is in line for more international hammer throwing events in the future, she was looking forward to next year’s opportunity.
She unleashed another 59m throw last week after a series of personal bests this year.
Ipswich and District Athletics Club president Vic Pascoe said national events like this weekend’s Australian schools championships will be more important for Vidler to continue pressing her case for future national selection.
He said next year’s planned World Youth Championships would have been a major stepping stone for Vidler.
Redbank Plains-based Vidler can now concentrate on this weekend’s national school championships before club state and Australian Junior titles early next year.
The hammer throw has become her major event, with Vidler also contesting the discus when she can at state and national level.
She’s competing in under-16 events this weekend.