Commonwealth Games chef de mission Steve Moneghetti says there is a great sense of optimism surrounding Australia’s athletics team ahead of its arrival in Glasgow.
Victorian middle-distance runner Alex Rowe equalled a long-standing Australian record for the men’s 800 metres at the Diamond League meeting in Monte Carlo yesterday morning.
His time of 1:44.40 matched the mark Ralph Doubell set when he won the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico.
“A 46-year-old record, it’s amazing,” Moneghetti said.
“I’ve been telling the whole team because that’s a result to celebrate and why shouldn’t we?”
As well as the good form shown by Rowe, Australia can also take heart from Kim Mickle’s third-placed finish in the women’s javelin.
“That’s great lead-in form for the Commonwealth Games,” Moneghetti said.
“That’s terrific for us to have guys in shape like that, guys and girls going so well.”
The athletes will certainly be carrying lofty expectations. The chairman of Athletics Australia’s selection committee, Dion Russell, has declared the overall aim is to finish on top of the medal tally.
“We think we’ve got some really good prospects in the team,” he said.
“Obviously people like Sally Pearson in the hurdles, Fabrice Lapierre in the long jump, Benn Harradine in the discus and Alana Boyd in the pole vault have all shown they’re capable of winning gold medals so hopefully they can keep that going in Glasgow.”
While they have not set an official medal target, Russell says they have a good idea of the numbers required to meet their ambitious goal.
“Kenya actually finished on top four years ago with 11 gold medals and a total of 29 medals altogether,” he said.
“While we matched them in the gold medal count – we won 11 as well – we only won 20 overall medals.
“So that gives you a bit of an idea of what it would take to be there towards the top.”
The Australian athletes will hold a final training session at their pre-Games camp in the northern English town of Gateshead tonight before travelling to Glasgow on Monday.