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Stubbs closing in on Olympic 100m mark

  • Stubbs closing in on Olympic 100m mark

    Aaron Stubbs has Rio firmly in his sights heading into the IAAF World Challenge meet in Melbourne.

With the benefit of hindsight, Aaron Stubbs acknowledges that Stawell Gift success came too early in his sprinting career.

The Queenslander won the famous handicap event as a teenager back in 2009, pocketed $40,000 in prize money and just assumed the good times - and the fast times - would keep coming.

For more than five years they mostly didn't.

The turning point finally came at last year's national championships when an injured Stubbs watched on from the stands in Brisbane as Josh Clarke claimed the 100m title in a time of 10.19 seconds.

"It didn't look that fast, it didn't feel like it was something that I couldn't do," 25-year-old Stubbs told AAP.

"I felt I should have been out there and I would at least be in the top couple of guys in that race if I trained properly.

"I decided there was no point just saying it, it was time to go out there and do it.

"So I set myself the target of qualifying for Rio and I'm not too far off that at the moment."

Stubbs linked up with Brisbane-based coach Stacey Taurima - the brother of Sydney Olympic long jump silver medallist Jai Taurima - and got serious.

"The problem was that I hadn't been training like an Olympian but I was still expecting high-performance results and that just doesn't happen," said the Queenslander, who had previously spent plenty of time training alongside beach sprinters.

"It's like any career - if you don't put the work in, there's a 99 per cent chance you won't get the results."

Fitter, faster and more flexible than ever before after a full off-season of training, Stubbs smashed his 100m personal best with a flying effort of 10.27 in Brisbane in November.

He has already lowered that PB twice this year with runs of 10.24 and 10.23 and now has the Rio Olympic qualifying mark of 10.16 firmly in his sights heading into Saturday's IAAF World Challenge meet in Melbourne.

Clarke has already bettered the Olympic qualifier, but he will sit out the Melbourne meet due to a strained hamstring.

The 100m field at Lakeside Stadium boasts a distinct Stawell flavour, including three former Gift winners in Stubbs, Josh Ross and Mitchell Williams-Swain.

Stubbs has also entered the 200m where he will come up against Alex Hartmann, who bettered the Olympic standard last month in Canberra.

Other feature events include the men's 800m, where the presence of world record holder and Olympic champion David Rudisha from Kenya should help drag Australians Luke Mathews, Joshua Ralph and Alex Rowe through to fast times.

Rising Australian star Damien Birkinhead will take on big Kiwi Tommy Walsh in the men's shot put, while in-form local duo Anneliese Rubie and Morgan Mitchell square off in the women's 400m.

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