22nd January, 2024

Sprint king Browning to double down against Japan’s finest at the Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne

On a night featuring the world’s best athletes at the Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne, few are set to harness the crowd like Australia’s own sprint king Rohan Browning

On a night featuring the world’s best athletes at the Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne, few are set to harness the crowd like Australia’s own sprint king Rohan Browning, with the fan-favourite locked and loaded to take on Japan’s fiercest sprinters as his Olympic campaign continues.

Browning’s showdown with Japan’s Olympic silver medallist and national record holder Ryota Yamagata over 100m and his duel with Asian champion Towa Uzawa in the esteemed Peter Norman Memorial 200m will serve as two drawcards at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold Meet to be held at Lakeside Stadium on Thursday, February 15.

Earning star status after his Tokyo Olympic heroics, Australia’s fastest man will unleash for the chance to lower his 10.01-second lifetime best; a feat that could see him qualify for the Paris Olympics and become the first Australian man to dip under the elusive 10-second barrier since Patrick Johnson’s historic 9.93 performance in 2003.

The sprint down the straight will be rapid as Yamagata looks to emulate his Japanese record of 9.95 from 2021, while the Australian steps onto the blocks with a strong record on home soil and a consistent three years under his belt.

“Melbourne is the beating heart of Australian sport and I can’t wait to launch my 100m Paris campaign in Melbourne. It’s my favourite meet of the year,” Browning said.

While the 100m at the Maurie Plant Meet is a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze event and scheduled early in the evening as part of the pre-event program, Browning’s quest will continue into the night as he races to go one better than his second-place finish behind the world’s fastest man Fred Kerley (USA) in last year’s Peter Norman Memorial 200m. The plan will see him build on his hopes to have the capacity to qualify for both the 100m and 200m at major championships in the future.

“I think the 200m is a really exciting opportunity because it gets me strong and fit, and the challenge has me feeling grateful for the 100m. It will be a really fun challenge and a really good novelty,” Browning said.

Uzawa will be out to spoil the Australian party as the reigning Asian champion over 200m, arriving with 20.23-second credentials to assert his presence as the fastest man in the field. The 21-year-old will be joined by compatriot Yudai Nishi, a 20.43-second man and World University Games silver medallist, but Browning remains determined to ensure the title returns to Australian hands.

“Japan has a really strong stable of sprinters across the 100m and the 200m. It would be great to have that quality of competition, but there are a lot of Australians who are up and coming and are running really well too, so I think it will be fiercely contested. I’m pretty untested in the 200m but I’ll still be looking to win,” Browning said.

World Under 20 bronze medallist Calab Law and Ipswich’s own teenage sensation, 16-year-old Gout Gout will join the stellar field, with Law looking to reclaim the Peter Norman 200m crown after clinching the win in 2022; a feat he stands in good stead for with a 20.42 second personal best.

One of two feature events at the Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne named after Australian athletics legends alongside the John Landy Mile, Browning says the Peter Norman Memorial 200m holds extra weight in the Olympic year:

“I’m really glad that the event is named after Peter Norman because he was really influential in the sport. He was such a revered athlete and it will be great to be a part of that.  I think that also takes on a special aura this year because of the Olympics and I think that hopefully leads to another sell-out crowd and I have a lot of faith that Melbourne will deliver.”

The World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series is the uppermost level on the World Athletics Continental Tour calendar, sitting just under the Diamond League in status. Each meet attracts the best athletes across the globe, with 14 existing meets offered in Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania.

The meet is supported by the Victorian Government via Visit Victoria and conducted within Athletics Australia’s Chemist Warehouse Summer Series.

Tickets for the Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne to be held at Lakeside Stadium on February 15 can be purchased HERE.

The Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne will be streamed live and free via 7plus for Australian viewers, while international viewers can tune in via World Athletics.