Sprinter Riley Day has received a big double boost of confidence ahead of her Olympic debut in Tokyo.
The 21-year-old and her coach Paul Pearce had the women’s 200m at a pre-Games meet in Cairns on Sunday moved forward to 10.30am so they could replicate their preparation for the opening round in Tokyo on the morning of August 2.
Day duly stopped the clock in a slick 22.83 seconds in her pet event.
Less than three hours later she backed up to win the 100m in a personal best time of 11.31.
“That’s huge for me going into Tokyo knowing that I’m running fast and that I’m in shape,” said Day, who will be contesting the half-lap event at the Games.
“It wasn’t ideal conditions this morning and my race execution could have been better, so it’s been really positive to run that fast.”
The flying time in the 100m was the cherry on top for the Queenslander, whose previous PB of 11.50 was set in early 2018.
“I only do a handful of 100s a year and whenever I do get the chance to run one it just seems like the conditions haven’t been right,” she said.
“But it’s finally happened today so I’m happy with that.”
Day locked in her spot on the Australian Games team early this year by bettering the 200m automatic qualifying standard with a PB of 22.77 and then backing up to win the national title.
It meant she and Pearce could complete their Olympic preparation on home soil rather than head to Europe to chase a time.
“My circumstances might have been different if I hadn’t qualified,” Day told AAP.
“I just thought to myself that there was no point in risking everything by going overseas when I have all I need here.”
The bulk of the 64-strong Australian Olympic track and field squad are fine-tuning their Olympic preparation in Cairns, although a handful of others will now have to fly direct from Sydney to Tokyo due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
The remainder of the team, including leading medal hopes Stewart McSweyn and Nicola McDermott, will go straight from Europe to the Japanese capital to avoid the mandatory two-week quarantine period.
In other notable performances at Barlow Park in Cairns on Sunday, Rohan Browning won the men’s 100m in 10.20 into a headwind.
The Sydneysider will become the first Australian man in 17 years to contest the blue-riband sprint at the Olympics.
Training partners Nina Kennedy and Liz Parnov both cleared 4.51m in the women’s pole vault and Linden Hall clocked 2:00.83 in the women’s 800m.