09 FEB 2001 General News In

Irish running star faces Australian talent in middle distance showdown

Irish running star faces Australian talent in middle distance showdown
Athletics Australia

9 February 2001 - In-form Olympic silver medallist Sonia O’Sullivan will take on Australia’s World junior medallist Georgie Clarke over 1500m tomorrow night at the Victorian Championships at Olympic Park in what will be a dress rehearsal for the Telstra Athletics Grand - Sydney next Friday 16 February.

The Irish distance running star has maintained her outstanding form since resuming training in Melbourne after the Olympic Games. She took out the Zatopek 10,000m in Melbourne in December and has followed up with some impressive performances including winning the World Cross Country Championships selection trial in Ballarat as an invitational runner.

Clarke has not had such good fortune since winning two medals at the World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile in October including a bronze over 1500m. After a good training base with O’Sullivan and many of Australia’s leading distance runners in Falls Creek recently, Clarke did not finish the World Cross Country selection trial due to a virus.

However the 16-year-old is back to top shape and ready to sharpen her 1500m conditioning tomorrow night for the Telstra Athletics Grand Prix clash with O’Sullivan in Sydney.

O’Sullivan is one of the most decorated distance runners in the world. After winning an Olympic silver medal in the 5000 metres this year in a classic duel with Romania’s Gabriela Szabo, O’Sullivan set a personal best of 30:53.37 in the Olympic 10,000m final for sixth place and then in late October won her first ever marathon in Dublin showing her tremendous versatility.

O’Sullivan was also the 1995 World Champion over 5000m; European Champion over 3000m in 1994 and then 5000m and 10000m in 1998; World Cup Champion in 1998; and, World Cross Country Champion in 1998 amongst her many achievements.

After giving birth to daughter Ciara in July 1999, she was soon back in action with a world road best for five miles in October. In Australia last season O’Sullivan won the 10,000 metres at the Australian Championships after winning the women’s 5000 metres at the Sydney Grand Prix.

Athletics Australia is delighted to have O’Sullivan competing during the Telstra Athletics Grand Prix series to provide exciting international competition for Australia’s best distance runners and to entertain the crowds including a large Irish contingent.

The Telstra Athletics Grand Prix - Sydney will be held on Friday 16 February at the Sydney Athletics Centre from 6pm.