Riley Day is looking to qualify for the World U20 Championships.
Riley Day is looking to qualify for the World U20 Championships.

Day takes age-old route to Gold Coast

AUSSIE sprint double champion Riley Day will revert to racing against rivals her own age next month in the lead up to her Commonwealth Games athletics adventure.

Day, 17, will compete in the 100m and 200m in the Australian under-20 titles at Sydney Olympic Park from March 14-18 to nail down selection for July's world under-20 championships in Finland.

The Beaudesert teen will compete against the seasoned veterans of Commonwealth sprinting at the Gold Coast Games, including England's British record holder Dina Asher Smith, who has a 22.07 personal best in the 200m and was the 2016 European champion at that distance.

Day will compete in the 200m and be a member of Australia's 4x100m relay squad in the Commonwealth Games in early April.

England has also selected Anyike Onoura, a 33-year-old almost twice Day's age, in their Games team.

Riley Day tries on her uniform after sealing her place in Australia’s team for the Commonwealth Games. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT
Riley Day tries on her uniform after sealing her place in Australia’s team for the Commonwealth Games. Picture: NIGEL HALLETT

Day's coach Donna Thomas said the teen was capable of going faster in the Games 200m than her 22.93 personal best into a headwind to clinch selection last Sunday.

This year's edition will be the Queenslander's last opportunity to win a medal at world under-20 level, as Sally Pearson did in 2004 when she took a bronze in the 100m and just missed out on a medal in the 100m hurdles.

Day has trained mostly on a grass track at Beaudesert but has this campaign mixed in sessions on the new rekortan synthetic tracks at the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre at Nathan.

"I'm looking to transition more to (synthetic tracks),'' Day said.

Day's 200m final time at Carrara Stadium last Sunday would have comfortably put her in the final of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The bronze medal from that final was won by a time of 22.58, emphasising what would be on offer if Day can further reduce her times.

Thomas said Day would not be daunted by having to run rounds at the Games, having produced a personal best at the end of a six-race program over four days at the national titles.

"Since she was 10 years, she's raced at championships, so I knew she could do it,'' Thomas said.

"She's had a few niggles along the way (in her season) but she got through. There was no stopping her from doing both events.''

Riley Day was this week named as a Griffith University scholarship winner.
Riley Day was this week named as a Griffith University scholarship winner.

Thomas has coached Day since she was hired when the youngster was nine as a "family friend'' and appreciates how much of a self-starter in her athletics the composed teenager is.

"I don't have to push her - she's 100 per cent committed,'' she said.

"Every time she goes out there she wants to win and she hates not to run a PB. She's always wanting to do more. She has that enthusiasm which pays off in the end and makes my job easy.

"We have hardly done any 200m training to be honest. We will be doing that (for the Games).

"I think she can run faster again then.''


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