The Guardian’s picture editors select photo highlights from around the world
The Guardian’s picture editors select photo highlights from around the world
Stephanie Davis says she is still waiting for her whirlwind journey from club runner to elite athlete to sink in after being officially named on Thursday in the Team GB marathon squad for the Tokyo Olympics.
Davis, who combines running for her local club Clapham Chasers with working for an asset management company, said her life had been “exciting but a bit mad” since she won the British trials last week – with numerous well-wishers hailing her story as an inspiration.
The 30-year-old Scot said she never dreamed her late blossoming career would end up with an Olympic spot. “When I was younger I did shorter distances and some cross country,” she said. “I wasn’t terrible but I definitely wasn’t on the podiums at national level. I did race against Lynsey Sharp in the 800s, and she always slaughtered me. I would make it through the finals but I was definitely always last.
“Back then I never thought I’d be getting to this level. I just didn’t think it would be possible. It just shows you that everyone’s journey is different. And if you just put in the hard work, and when the time is right for you, then it can happen.”
Davis, who will be joined in the women’s team by Stephanie Twell and Jessica Piasecki after Charlotte Purdue was surprisingly overlooked, ran her first marathon in 2018 when she debuted in a respectable 2hr 41min. Since then she has kicked on impressively and looked to have plenty more in the tank when setting a personal best of 2hr 27min 16sec last week.
“I can’t quite believe my name is on the list,” Davis said. “I’m still waiting for it to really sink in. But I have been so touched by the amount of people who have messaged me to say: ‘What an inspiration you are.’ It’s not something I expected to hear.”
However, Davis said she had chuckled after reading in some race reports that she was a senior financial adviser. “I’m just waiting to be told that I’m CEO next,” she joked. “I don’t do number crunching as I’m on the admin side – my official title is corporate access specialist. I did sports science at university so I’m not qualified to give financial advice.”
Her next big race will be at the Olympics, but she admits she has no idea what the marathon course in Sapporo is like – or even what time the race starts. “I know it’s going to be warm so that’s something I’m going to have to factor in to my training. Hopefully, depending on Covid, I’ll get away to do some kind of warm‑weather training, which I’m like really excited about because I’ve never been on a proper training camp.”
Davis said there was no secret to her success – except for that fact she “does not focus on crazy mileage” unlike many runners, preferring to swim and cross-train instead – although she admits she is a bit of a porridge “fiend”, too. “I’m going to have to take lots with me,” she said with a smile. “I’m hoping a Scottish porridge company will give me some free sponsorship and an unlimited lifetime supply.”
Four other British athletes were also selected on Thursday, including Ben Connor, Callum Hawkins and Chris Thompson in the men’s marathon and Tom Bosworth in the men’s 20km race walk.
Olympian-in-waiting Rohan Browning can taste more seismic breakthroughs after storming to third on the Australian men’s 100m sprint all-time rankings at the Queensland Track Classic.
The best domestic ensemble assembled for a meet outside of a national championships in more than a decade had the crowd anticipating something special and the 23-year-old delivered with a sizzling 10.05 seconds meet record in the final.
Only Patrick Johnson (9.93) and Matt Shirvington (10.03) are ahead of Browning and it seems only a matter of time before he legally snaps the 10-second barrier after running a wind-assisted 9.96 in January.
The Sydney University law student is now all but certain to become the first male to represent Australia in the individual 100m at an Olympics since Josh Ross in 2004.
Chasing 10.08 for an automatic Olympic qualifier, the Andrew Murphy coached sprinter delivered and can begin plotting for the Tokyo Games.
“It’s been the time I’ve been chasing all year,” Browning said after holding off New Zealand’s Edward Osei-Nketia (10.12) and Tasmania’s Jack Hale (10.33).
“I had a taste of sub-10 this year but doing that today gives me the confidence I can do it legally.”
Browning’s feat sparked a series of brilliant performances on the track.
Minutes later, Victorians Catriona Bisset (1:59.12) and Linden Hall (1:59.22) both broke the two-minute barrier in the women’s 800m, the first time two Australians have done so in the same race.
It was Bissett’s second Olympic qualifier and for her training partner Hall the personal best time gave her another feather in her cap to go with her 1500m qualifier.
“She’s one of my really close friends,” Bisset said of Hall.
“She’ll smash that four-minute mark in the 1500, or at least I hope she does so she stays out of the 800.”
Fifteen-year-old Claudia Hollingsworth further spiked excitement levels around Australian middle distance racing whenshe finished third in 2:01.60.
Hana Basic is a breath away from qualifying for a women’s individual 100m berth in Tokyo after twice running under 11.20sec – just shy of the 11.15 selection standard – for personal bests on the same night.
Her 11.19 dash in the final with barely a puff of breeze was as impressive as her 11.18 heat time with a +2m/sec tailwind.
In a sign of her soaring expectations, Liz Clay shook her head after posting her fifth sub-13sec (12.98) performance of the season in winning the 100m hurdles in a strong field.
Brooke Stratton was a comfortable winner in the women’s long jump but left a little deflated after her best leap of 6.63m fell short of the 6.82m Olympic qualifier.
The Olympic torch relay to the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games began its 120-day journey across Japan following a low-key ceremony at a football training complex in Fukushima. The ceremony was closed to the public as Japan maintains strict restrictions around the Covid-19 pandemic. Azusa Iwashimizu, a member of the Japanese team that won the women’s World Cup in 2011 was the first torchbearer, running through sparsely populated local streets. Large crowds have been discouraged from gathering, and the few who did attend were asked to wear masks, socially distance and refrain from cheering or shouting
Two central Hockeyroos players remain excluded from the national squad less than four months out from the Tokyo Olympics with no sign if or when they will reinstated.
Four months after former captain Georgina Morgan and world goalkeeper of the year Rachael Lynch lodged formal appeals against their omissions from the team, the players’ association has called for a “swift resolution” of the protracted process.
The decision, taken by Hockey Australia staff members who have since resigned, including head coach Paul Gaudoin and high-performance director Toni Cumpston, has left the pair in limbo with time ticking down to the rescheduled Games.
Much has happened since Morgan and Lynch were dropped, a decision which became the breaking point following sustained internal unrest since the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The subsequent independent inquiry last week delivered a report finding a “dysfunctional culture” within the women’s national program. Gaudoin quit 12 hours before the report’s 29 recommendations were released, though the majority of the findings will not be made public.
As the Hockeyroos, who are currently in camp in Western Australia, continue to train together regularly, Morgan and Lynch have been forced to operate on their own, having been told by HA they are prohibited from training with the national squad, relying on the kindness of local clubs and Western Australian Institute of Sport.
The union on Thursday again acknowledged the commitment by HA to implementing all recommendations in the report, but said the ongoing appeals process “remains a significant issue that must be resolved”.
“The AHPA recognises the importance of a thorough process, however would call on all parties involved for a swift resolution to this matter for the wellbeing of our members including Rachael, Georgina and the current Hockeyroos playing group,” an AHPA statement read.
“Our members have demonstrated incredible resilience over the past five months, and we hope that a decision will provide much sought closure and enable them to direct their focus on the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games and the sustained success of the Hockeyroos.”
A HA spokesperson told Guardian Australia the agreed timeline for the appeal was extended to facilitate additional requests from the players’ lawyers.
“Hockey Australia is mindful of the proximity of the Tokyo Olympics and would like to see the players’ appeals determined as soon as possible,” HA said in a statement.
“These appeals are being heard by an independent appeals tribunal, thus the process and subsequent timing of the decisions are not matters that Hockey Australia can control, but it is doing all it can to facilitate a quick resolution of the appeals.”
Earlier this week, HA chief executive Matt Favier addressed the report, saying the review found no evidence of bullying and body shaming in the most recent Olympic cycle, as players have claimed, but that it had been present in previous cycles.
“As CEO there has never been a matter raised directly with me – at any time – that there was any level of disquiet in the program. The fact that it went to the media without ever coming through the CEO, ever coming through the CEO, makes it extremely hard for us to be able to respond to these issues.”
He would not publicly back HA president Melanie Woosman.