Athletics

Youcef Abdi – Men’s 3000m steeplechase

Youcef Abdi – Men’s 3000m steeplechase

Age: 34

Home: NSW (Born in Algeria)

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 - 6th, Men's 3000m Steeplechase

Youcef Abdi produced his best ever time in the 3000m steeplechase at the Beijing Olympics, now he will be hoping to improve on that performance and challenge for a medal in London. Four years ago, he ran 8 minutes 16.36 seconds to finish sixth in the steeplechase. So far this year, his fastest time is 8 min 21.98 seconds last month in Istanbul. Aside from the Olympics, he has run in three Commonwealth Games and four world championships.

Luke Adams – Men’s 50km Walk

Age: 35

Home: NSW (Born in Tanzania)

Past Olympics: Athens 2004 – 16th, 20km walk; Beijing 2008 – 6th, 20km walk, 10th, 50km walk

Adams will race in his third Olympic Games in London. He came 6th in the 20km walk in Beijing and 10th in the 50km event, but is now focusing on the longer race in London. He has good prospects of a medal, having finished 5th in the 50km walk at last year’s world titles in Daegu, Sth Korea.

Anthony Alozie – Men’s 4x100m relay

Age: 25

Home: VIC (Born in Nigeria)

Past Olympics: Olympic Debut

Alozie came to Australia to compete in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. He then stayed and became an Australian citizen. He was part of the men’s 4x100m relay teams that competed at the world championships in 2009 (Berlin) and 2011 (Daegu), and he will be part of the Australian relay squad in London.

Jarrod Bannister – Men’s Javelin

Age: 27

Home: QLD

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – 6th, Men’s Javelin

Jarrod Bannister is the reigning Commonwealth Games champion in the javelin, and he came eight at last year’s world championships. His personal best of 89.02m was set in Brisbane in February 2008. This year he has been slowly improving his distances in international completion – his throw of 83.70m in Paris at the start of July puts him 2.5m outside the medals, but Bannister has the potential to unleash a big throw if everything goes right at the Games.

Collis Birmingham - Men’s 5000m

Age: 27

Home: VIC

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – 10th (heat), Men’s 5000m.

Collis Birmingham started out in cross-country, racing in the junior race at the world cross-country championships in 2003. He made his world championship debut in Berlin in 2009, finishing 16th in the 5000m, and then went on to compete in the Delhi Commonwealth Games the following year, finishing sixth in the 5000m and ninth in the 10,000m.

Lauren Boden – Women’s 400m Hurdles

Age: 23

Home: ACT

Olympic Debut

Boden has two Commonwealth Games under her belt, the most recent in Delhi in 2010 where she ran fourth. She followed up with her first world titles in Daegu last year, where she made the semi-final. Boden set her personal best of 55.25 seconds in Japan in 2010. This year her best time was 55.45 set in Sydney in February. She has a difficult task ahead to improve on her world championship performance, with the top eight times in the world a second faster than her Sydney time.

Alana Boyd – Women’s Pole Vault

Age: 28

Home: WA

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – 16th, Women’s Pole Vault

Alana Boyd broke the Australian record for the Pole Vault in March this year, clearing a height of 4.76m. This puts her within striking distance of the medals – the leading height achieved this year is 4.83m by American athlete Jennifer Suhr. Boyd has made good progress since her Olympic debut in Beijing, when she finished 16th in qualifying, with a height of 4.50m. She won the Commonwealth Games title in Delhi two years later, with a clearance of 4.40m.

– Women’s 100m

Age: 21

Home: ACT

Olympic Debut

Breen had an anxious wait to find out if she was on the Olympic team, having registered two times very close to the 11.29 Olympic A qualification time. In the end she was nominated for the team as a discretionary pick by officials, and she has gone on to repay their faith by clocking a personal best time of 11.27 seconds at her last hit-out before the Games at Lucerne in Switzerland.

Zoe Buckman – Women’s 1500m

Age: 23

Home: ACT

Olympic Debut

Buckman will make her Olympic debut running the 1500m in London. It will be her first performance at a major championship. Her personal best in the 1500m is 4 minutes 05.06 seconds, set in Italy in September last year. Her season’s best this year is 4:07.52 in May this year.

Brendan Cole – Men’s 400m Hurdles

Age: 31

Home: ACT

Olympic Debut

Cole is a five-time Australian champion in the 400m hurdles, but he will be making his Olympic debut in London. He competed in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, coming fifth in the individual hurdles event. In the Delhi Commonwealth Games four years later, he ran 6th in the individual 400m hurdles and won gold as part of the Australian 4x400m relay team. In his only world championship appearance in 2009, Cole reached the semi-finals.

Nathan Deakes – Men’s 50km Walk

Age: 34

Home: ACT

Past Olympics: Sydney 2000 – 6th, 50km Walk, 8th, 20km Walk; Athens 2004 – 3rd, 20km Walk, DQ, 50km Walk

Nathan Deakes is one of Australia’s best ever race walkers, with nine national titles, four Commonwealth Games gold medals, a world title, and an Olympic bronze medal to his name. He will compete in his third Olympics in London in the 50km event.

Martin Dent – Men’s Marathon

Age: 33

Home: ACT (Born in the UK)

Olympic Debut

Dent was nominated for the Olympic team on selector’s discretion, based on his run at the Fukuoka Marathon last December, where he registered a personal best time of 2 hours, 12 minutes 23 seconds. The British-born Dent had achieved the qualifying standard for two previous Games (Sydney and Beijing) in steeplechase but had missed out on selection.

Chris Erickson – 20km Walk

Age: 30

Home: ACT

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – DQ, 20km Walk

Erickson will compete in his second Olympics in London, having been disqualified on the road while competing in the 20km walk in Beijing. He is in good form coming into the Games, having set his personal best time of 1 hour, 22 minutes, 50 seconds in May this year. However he will need a big improvement to challenge for the medals. Erickson won a bronze medal at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 in the 50km walk.

– Men’s Long Jump, Men’s Triple Jump

Age: 22

Home: QLD

Olympic Debut

Henry Frayne will have a busy schedule in his first Olympic Games, with the Queenslander competing – and a medal chance – in both the long jump and triple jump events. His season’s best in less than 10cm off the leaders in the long jump, and earlier this year he won the silver medal in long jump at the world indoor championships in Istanbul. He has more ground to make up in the triple jump, but overall Frayne will be one to watch in London.

– Men’s 1500m

Age: 22

Home: NSW

Olympic Debut

Gregson has shown improvement in the 1500m, from his first world titles appearance in 2009, where he failed to make it out of his heat, to Daegu last year where he reached the semi-finals. This year his best time is 3 minutes 33.92 seconds, but his personal best is 3:31.06 in 2010. Given the limit of three competitors in Olympic events for the powerhouse Kenyans and Ethiopians, a repeat of that performance could see him qualify for his first Olympic final.

Benn Harradine – Men’s Discus

Age: 22

Home: VIC

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – Qualifying Round, Men’s Discus

Benn Harradine is in line for a much improved performance in London compared to his first Olympics four years ago. In Beijing, Harradine threw 58.55m in the qualifying round, but this year he set a season’s and personal best of 67.53m in Townsville in May. A throw of that length would put him close to the final, and if he could improve by another metre and a half he would be a chance for a medal under the current rankings.

– Pole Vault

Age: 30

Home: WA

Past Olympics: Athens 2004 – Qualifying round, Men’s Pole Vault; Beijing 2008 – 1st, Men’s Pole Vault

No one knows which Steve Hooker will turn up in London. It could be the Steve Hooker who has spent most of this Olympic year burdened by the “yips” – in pole vaulting terms, unable to plant the pole in the right place to even get himself airborne. Or, it could be the man who took the Olympic title in Beijing with a clearance of 5.96m, and followed it in 2009 with gold at the world championships. If Hooker can keep his head clear in the Olympic Stadium, anything is possible. But there is every bit as much chance of a disaster as a triumph for the Western Australian - who is also Australia’s athletics team captain – only time will tell.

Jeff Hunt – Men’s Marathon

Age: 30

Home: NSW

Olympic Debut

Jeff Hunt will run the marathon in London in his first Olympics, following a 13th placing in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi two years ago. His best time this year is 2 hours 13 minutes 19 seconds in Beppu, Japan, the same marathon he achieved his personal best of 2:11:00 even in 2010.

– Women’s 3000m Steeplechase

Age: 22

Home: QLD (lives in the US)

Olympic Debut

Genevieve LaCaze owes her spot on the Olympic team, in large part, to a social media campaign calling for her selection after she achieved the Olympic A qualifying time for the 3000m steeplechase a day after Athletics Australia’s deadline. With the support of former AOC president John Coates, Lacaze – a collegiate runner at the University of Florida - was accepted for nomination after AA extended the deadline. She would need spectacular improvement to challenge for medals or even reach the final, but the Games will give her great experience for another tilt at Rio in four years’ time.

Regan Lamble – Women’s 20km Walk

Age: 20

Home: ACT

Past Olympics: Olympic Debut

Regan Lamble showed signs she was on track for the Olympics at last year’s world titles, where she came 15th in the 20km walk at Daegu. She has a personal best time of 1hour 31 minutes 39 seconds, set in China in 2011, but realistically this Olympics will be more about getting experience at the Games ahead of Rio De Janeiro in 2016.

Tim Leathart – Men’s 4x100m Relay

Age: 22

Home: NSW

Olympic Debut

Leathart has been chosen for his first Olympics on the back of his performance at the Australian championships earlier this year, where he ran 10.36 seconds for the 100m to finish second behind Joshua Ross.

Beki Lee – Women’s 20km Walk

Age: 25

Home: ACT

Olympic Debut

Lee will make her Olympic debut in the 20km walk in London. She has a personal best time of 1 hour, 33 minutes 09 seconds set in Melbourne last year. Her best time in 2012 has been 1:36:45 in Melbourne in June.

Scott Martin – Men’s Discus

Age: 29

Home: VIC

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – Qualifying round, Men’s Shot Put

Scott Martin has changed events since his first Olympics in Beijing. He competed in the shot put four years ago, throwing 19.75m. This time round he will compete in the discus, the event he won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in at Melbourne in 2006. He set his personal best of 65.63m in May this year.

Andrew McCabe – Men’s 4x100m Relay

Age: 21

Home: QLD

Olympic Debut

The Townsville native McCabe has been picked for his first Olympic Games as part of the men’s 4x100m relay squad. He ran his personal best for the 100m of 10.51 seconds in Melbourne in March this year.

Kaila McKnight – Women’s 1500m

Age: 26

Home: VIC

Olympic Debut

McKnight is the Australian 1500 and 5000m champion. She ran fifth in her heat of the 1500m at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010. Now she will make her Olympic debut in the middle-distance event in London. She set a personal best time for the 1500 of 4 minutes, 05.61 seconds in May this year.

David McNeill – Mens’ 5000m

Age: 25

Home: United States (Arizona)

Olympic Debut

McNeill is an athlete on scholarship at Northern Arizona University in the United States. He has been selected for his first Olympics in the 5000m. McNeill ran in the 10,000m at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, finishing 24th. The following year he came back in distance to compete in the 5000m at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, where he finished eighth.

Kim Mickle – Women’s Javelin

Age: 27

Home: WA

Olympic Debut

Mickle has been selected for her first Olympics in the javelin. The Western Australian athlete has competed at two Commonwealth Games, missing out on the medals in fourth place in Melbourne in 2006, before taking the silver medal in Delhi four years later. She has set a new personal best of 64.12m in Germany a month out from the Olympics, and further improvement could see her push close to an Olympic final.

Joel Milburn – Men’s 4x400m relay

Age: 26

Home: NSW

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – Semi-finals, Men’s 400m, 6th, Men’s 4x400m relay

Milburn will run in his second Olympics as part of the 4x400m relay team. He has a bronze medal in the 4x400m relay from the world titles in 2009, and a Commonwealth Games gold medal in the same event from Delhi in 2010.

Kathryn Mitchell – Women’s Javelin

Age: 30

Home: VIC

Olympic Debut

Mitchell has come fifth and sixth at the last two Commonwealth Games (in Delhi and Melbourne respectively), and now she gets the chance to make her Olympic debut in London. Like Kim Mickle, Mitchell has set her personal best leading into the Games, with a throw of 64.34m.

Craig Mottram – Men’s 5000m

Age: 32

Home: VIC

Past Olympics: Sydney 2000 – 8th (heat) Men’s 5000m; Athens 2004 – 8th, Men’s 5000m; Beijing 2008 – 5th (heat) Men’s 5000m

Craig Mottram will make his fourth appearance at an Olympic Games in London, once again taking on the middle distance event of the 5000m. The six-times national champion won a silver medal in the 5000m at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006. The previous year he had his best ever result, winning a bronze medal in the 5000m at the world titles in Helsinki.

Isaac Ntiamoah – Men’s 4x100m relay

Age: 29

Home: NSW

Olympic Debut

Ntiamoah was part of the Australian 4x100m relay team that finished fourth at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, and in the relay team that came fourth in its heat at last year’s world championships in Daegu, Sth Korea. He has now been chosen for his first Olympics. Ntiamoah ran a new personal best of 10.35 seconds for the 100m earlier this year.

Ben Offereins – Men’s 4x400m relay

Age: 26

Home: WA

Olympic Debut

Offereins makes his Olympic debut in the one-lap relay event in London. He has previously won a bronze medal in the 4x400m relay at the world championships in 2009, and a silver medal in the same event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.

Liz Parnov – Women’s Pole Vault

Age: 18

Home: WA

Olympic Debut

Parnov is a future star, having won a silver medal at the world junior championships in Barcelona earlier this year. Now she has been picked for her first Olympics, and set a new personal best with a clearance of 4.50m in February 2012.

Sally Pearson – Women’s 100m Hurdles

Age: 25

Home: QLD

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – 2nd, Women’s 100m Hurdles

Sally Pearson will be one of the faces of the London Olympics for Australia. She is in top form and a favourite to clinch the first Australian track gold medal since Cathy Freeman in Sydney. Pearson has been beaten only once this season, and she has run the top three times of 2012. If she wins a gold medal to go with her Olympic silver from Beijing, her Commonwealth Games gold in Delhi, her world titles in the 100m hurdles world indoor title in the 60m hurdles, her after-race celebration could be something to watch.

Jeffrey Riseley – Men’s 800, 1500m

Age: 25

Home: VIC

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – 12th (heat) Men’s 1500m

Riseley will run in two middle-distance events in his second Olympics. Coming into the Games his best chance lies in the 800m, where he set a new personal best a fortnight out from the Games. Like many of the middle and long-distance races at the Games, the limit of three competitors per nation gives Riseley a chance of making an Olympic final if he can cut another half a second off his best time in London.

Joshua Ross – Men’s 4x100m Relay

Age: 31

Home: NSW

Past Olympics: Athens 2004 – 5th (QF) Men’s 100m, 6th Men’s 4x100m relay

Joshua Ross has had a late-career resurgence to clinch a spot in his first Olympic team in eight years. Ross’ best time of 10.08 seconds for the 100m was set back in 2007, but he missed out on selection in Beijing, four years after making the quarter-finals in Athens and being part of the Australian team that finished sixth in the 4x100m relay.

Adam Rutter – Men’s 20km Walk

Age: 25

Home: ACT

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – DNF, Men’s 20km Walk

Rutter is hoping for a better outcome in London than his first Olympics in Beijing where he failed to finish the 20km walk. Rutter set his personal best for the event in a race in March this year, where he stopped the clock in 1 hour 21 minutes 23 seconds.

– Women’s Discus

Age: 24

Home: NSW

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – 9th, Women’s Discus

Dani Samuels put her name in lights at the Berlin world titles in 2009, where she won the women’s discus title with a throw of 65.44m, compared with the Beijing Olympics where she came ninth with a throw of 60.15m. She has been out of form recently, before registering a throw of 62.78m in mid-July. Samuels will need a massive improvement to get near the medals, given the world’s best for 2012 is 70.69m by Russia’s Darya Pischalkinova.

Michael Shelley – Men’s Marathon

Age: 28

Home: QLD

Olympic Debut

Shelley will run in the Olympic marathon for the first time in London. He took a silver medal in the marathon at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, and went on to set his personal best time in Amsterdam late last year, with a time of 2 hours 11 minutes 23 seconds.

Steve Solomon – Men’s 400m, Men’s 4x400m Relay

Age: 19

Home: NSW

Olympic Debut

Solomon is another rising junior star in the Olympic athletics team. He ran 45.52 seconds to win the bronze medal for the 400m at the world junior championships in Barcelona, in July, and now he will run in the individual 400m event as well as the relay. At just 19 years old, Solomon has a lot of improvement in him, and will be all the better in four years’ time for this Olympic experience.

Ben St Lawrence – Men’s 10,000m

Age: 30

Home: NSW

Olympic Debut

St Lawrence - from Bullaburra, NSW – has made his first Olympic team in the 10,000m for London. St Lawrence ran in both the 5000 and 10000m at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, finishing 7th in both events. In 2011 St Lawrence ran in his first world titles, finishing eighth in his heat of the 10,000m.

– Men’s 4x400m Relay

Age: 29

Home: NSW

Past Olympics: Athens 2004 – 2nd, Men’s 4x400m Relay; Beijing 2008 – 6th, Men’s 4x400m Relay

John Steffensen has made many headlines throughout his career and he caused controversy once more in the wake of his selection for his third Olympic Games. Steffensen, who won a silver medal in Athens as part of the 4x400m relay squad, and won the individual 400m gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2006, hit out at Australian athletics officials who he said had discriminated against him by picking Steve Solomon to run in the 400m instead of him in London. Even before the selection of the team, Steffensen was at the centre of drama when he pulled up in the final of the Stawell Gift with a hamstring injury.

– Men’s Shot Put

Age: 24

Home: VIC

Olympic Debut

Stevenson will compete in the shot put in London in his first Olympic Games. The 24 year-old has a Commonwealth Games bronze medal to his credit from Delhi in 2010. Stevenson improved his personal best to 20.63m in May this year – the question is whether he has further improvement in him at the Games.

Claire Tallent – Women’s 20km Walk

Age: 31

Home: ACT

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – 28th, 20km Walk

Tallent will compete in her second Olympics, after finishing in 28th in the 20km walk in Beijing. She went on to win silver in the Commonwealth Games in 2010, although her time was three minutes slower than her performance at the Olympics. However she showed good signs for an Olympic year when she set a personal best time of 1 hour 28 minutes 53 seconds in a race in China in March 2012. Given that China and Russia (like all countries) are limited to three competitors, Tallent is a good chance to finish in the top 10 if she has a good race, and a medal is not out of the question.

– Men’s 20km Walk, 50km Walk

Age: 27

Home: ACT

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – 3rd, 20km walk, 2nd, 50km walk

Proving that he and his wife Claire are a family of all the talents, the 27-year-old will race in his second Olympics after winning a silver and a bronze medal in the walking events in Beijing. Tallent is contention for medals in both events in London, but in particular he will be a chance to take out the Olympic title in the 50km walk, where he has the third-fastest time of the year. Tallent also won the Commonwealth Games title in the 20km walk in 2010, and a bronze medal in the 50km walk at the 2011 world titles.

Tristan Thomas – Men’s 400m Hurdles

Age: 26

Home: ACT

Olympic Debut

Thomas had a big year in 2009, winning gold in the 400m and 4x400m relay at the World University Games and bronze at that year’s world championships in the 4x400m relay. He won the 400m hurdles event at the Australian national championships this year.

Jess Trengove – Women’s Marathon

Age: 24

Home: SA

Olympic Debut

South Australian runner Jess Trengove – from the town of Naracoorte in the state’s south-east - has been selected for her first Olympics in London, running the marathon. Trengove was the Australian national cross-country champion in 2010, but it took until March this year for her to make her big breakthrough in the classic Olympic event, running a time of 2 hours 31 minutes 02 seconds for the marathon in Nagoya, Japan. She is the sister of Melbourne AFL footballer Jack Trengove.

– Men’s Long Jump

Age: 24

Home: QLD

Olympic Debut

In the last three years, Mitchell Watt has emerged as one of Australia’s biggest athletic talents and a top chance of Olympic success in London. His bronze medal at the 2009 world championships in Berlin – with a jump of 8.37m - made people sit up and take notice.

He then backed it up with a bronze medal at the world indoor championships in 2010, and a silver medal at the 2011 world championships. Now he is one of the leading chances for an Olympic medal in London, which would be the first of its kind since Gary Honey at the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

Lisa Weightman – Women’s Marathon

Age: 33

Home: VIC

Past Olympics: Beijing 2008 – 33rd, Women’s Marathon

Lisa Weightman is going to her second Olympics to run the longest event on the program. She gave notice of her ability back in 2004 when she finished ninth in the London Marathon, following it up with a fourth placing two years later. She went to Beijing, where she finished 33rd in the marathon, then ran 18th in the event at the 2009 world championships and won a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Her personal best for the distance is two hours 28 minutes 48 seconds, set in Nagano in Japan in 2010.

Eloise Wellings – Women’s 10,000m

Age: 29

Home: NSW

Olympic Debut

Wellings won gold in the 5000m at the World University Games in 2003, to start her international career. Since then she has run every distance from the 1500 to the 10,000m at the Australian championships. She has competed at two Commonwealth Games, missing out on the medals in fourth in the 5000m in Melbourne, then coming fifth in the 5000m and sixth in the 10,000m in Delhi two years ago. This is her first Olympic Games. She set her personal best of 31 minutes 41.31 seconds in California last year.

Benita Willis – Women’s Marathon

Age: 33

Home: VIC

Past Olympics: Sydney 2000 – 6th (heat), Women’s 5000m; Athens 2004 – 24th, Women’s 10,000m; Beijing 2008 - 21st, Women’s Marathon

Benita Willis will compete in her fourth Olympics in London, having graduated from the middle distance competition of the 5000m in Sydney to the marathon in Beijing and at these Games. Her personal best for the marathon distance of two hours 22 minutes 36 seconds was set at the Chicago Marathon in 2006. Willis currently holds the Oceania record for four road race distances from 10km to 30km and the marathon.

Julian Wruck – Men’s Discus

Age: 21

Home: QLD (lives in USA)

Olympic Debut

Julian Wruck has come through the junior ranks to make it to his first Olympic Games in the men’s discus event. Wruck won Australian underage titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009, before going to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, where he finished eighth.

His personal best throw of 64.84m was set in Los Angeles in April this year, but he will need to improve by several metres to challenge for the medals.