More wins for Basic and Clay

·3-min read

One is a globetrotting social butterfly for whom athletics is an escape.

The other has resolutely embraced the track and refused to quit despite the setbacks inflicted on her by the sport.

Together, great mates Hana Basic and Liz Clay are a snapshot of an invigorating new Olympic dawn for Australia's track hopes.

The 25-year-olds are targeting their maiden national titles next month in Sydney after continuing their breakthrough campaigns at the Queensland Track Classic on Saturday night.

Basic (11.18 seconds) crept closer to the 11.15 100m Olympic qualifier while Clay already has a toe on the plane to Tokyo after her 12.98 winning finish in the 100m hurdles, her fifth dip under the 13-second barrier this season.

In celebrating each other's achievements, the pair reflected on a friendship dating back to their selection in the Australian team for the 2014 world junior championships in the US.

Although a broken bone in her foot eventually forced Clay out of the event, they remained good friends and are now revelling in breakthrough campaigns.

"It's awesome to ride that wave with some one else," Clay said.

In the years before COVID-19 stalled global sport, Basic travelled through Europe visiting relatives scattered by war in her family's native Bosnia.

Denmark, Sweden, Italy and Morocco were just a few of the stops on her own world tour.

Between trips she studied fulltime for a teaching degree at Deakin University and worked part-time at Melbourne's Wesley College.

"I've never been like a fulltime athlete," she said.

"As an 18-21-year-old I did Europe with all my friends.

"I did uni fulltime, always worked. I've got really good balance now I've figured it out.

"If I was just fulltime athletics I'd start to hate it."

Injuries and what she calls her "awkward plateau" prompted Clay to relocate from Sydney's northern suburbs to the Gold Coast five years ago to link with renowned track coach Sharon Hannan.

She studied for a Bachelor of Applied Science at the University of Sydney and, later, Business at Griffith University. Hurdles, however, was her addiction.

At the Brisbane meet two years ago she ran 13.43. Now she rolls her eyes at 12.98 and is a legitimate hope for the Tokyo Olympic final.

"Old Liz would have been super happy with (12.98)," she joked.

"If the Olympics were held last year, I would have just been a lane filler. In the team. Got the uniform. Great, but I wouldn't have made a semi.

"Now, if I can stay on the path I'm in good contention for the final."

While the first priority for Basic is achieving the 11.15 qualifying standard at the nationals, she is unapologetically targeting Melissa Breen's seven-year-old national record of 11.11.

"I was sort of eyeing it off but now, I think that's mine," Basic said.

"The Olympic qualifier is within reach but I want to go further."