Joel Hogarth: The world beckons

HE didn’t finish in first place, but with a time that will send him to the world junior championships, Westbourne Grammar School product Joel Hogarth may as well have won at Albert Park on Saturday.

The 800m runner out of the Athletics Essendon stable went under the qualifying mark for the biannual IAAF event for the 19-and-under in his race at the Melbourne Track Classic.

Hogarth was fifth in the 800m B-race but his 1.50.41 time was inside the 1.50.50 standard required for world junior championships qualification. The 18 year old took good form into the senior meet after taking out the under-20 state championship in 1:55.97 on the same track the previous week.

With the field wanting a fast opening lap, Essendon clubmate Mark Blicavs set the pace on Saturday night and left the field to battle out a finish in which four competitors were within a second of winner Johnny Rayner.

With only the winner’s time being displayed immediately at Albert Park, there was a nervous wait for Hogarth who said he felt like he’d run a good time. “I was nervous. I went to the cool room and sat in there, then came out and my coach [Gregor Gojrzewski] said I’d got the time.”

Hogarth will now set his schedule to prepare for the world juniors in Barcelona in Spain from July 10-15.

Having suffered knee injuries, Hogarth’s condition will be a top priority. “I seem to get a lot of injuries. To keep running all the time without any breaks is really important for me,” he said.

“I raced at the Zatopek:10 and won the under-18s race in front of a big crowd which was really good, and a 4×400 with Essendon at the previous Melbourne track classic. It’s good to have a bit of experience running in front of a big crowd.”