TASMANIA'S London Olympian Tristan Thomas will join Australia's other leading 400-metre hurdlers as they launch their push for selection to the athletics world championships at the Sydney Track Classic on Saturday night.
Thomas and his national teammates Brendan Cole and Lauren Boden (both of the ACT), who all reached the semi-final on their Olympic debuts last year, will be joined by American champion Jeshua Anderson and two-time Belgian champion Michael Beltheel in the men's race and American duo Jernail Hayes and Jasmin Chaney in the women's.
A two-time world championship representative, Thomas opened his season in the 200m at the Briggs Athletics Classic in Hobart two weeks ago, but is excited about returning to his pet event.
``I'm looking forward to coming back to the 400m hurdles and I hope it is a good race,'' he said.
``It is pretty early in the season and my training suggests that a performance of note could come and that's great, but I have to make it happen on the day.
``I just want it to be a good race. The field is strong and that pushes you to run at your best. It would be nice to come away with a world championships qualifier if it all comes together, and if it's not me that runs one it would be fantastic if an Australian does.''
The 26-year-old was world university 400m hurdles champion in 2009 and boasts a personal best of 48.64 although Anderson's benchmark is an impressive 47.93.
A three-time 400m hurdles national champion, Cole, 31, is a 4x400m relay gold medallist from the 2010 Commonwealth Games and set his personal best of 49.24 to win his heat at the Olympics.
More than 30 international stars are set to compete in Sydney, while the Australian contingent features 23 Olympians including Victoria's race walking silver medallist Jared Tallent.