Biggest win for Birtwhistle



JAKE Birtwhistle rated his win in the de Castella 3000 metres at Thursday's Zatopek Classic as his biggest in athletics.

``I have wanted that win badly for years,'' he said.

``It's good to be winning class running races again. It's quite a prestigious race and a lot of people that won this have gone on to some pretty big things.''

Launceston's 18-year-old athletics and triathlon champion judged a tactical race to perfection, clocking a slower time than the one which earned him third last year but breaking a quality under-20 field on the last lap.

``I'm pretty happy with that,'' Birtwhistle said after a recovery swim in Melbourne yesterday morning.

``The time was not that quick but tactics played a big part. I sat in the pack and waited until I thought it was a good time to make my move.

``I went with 500m to go, was able to get a good lead and then hung on to the line. I had been feeling really good until I went but I was able to hold them off and in the end it was fairly comfortable.

``In athletics, that's probably the biggest win I've had. It's one of the biggest crowds for athletics I've been to and was really good.''

Birtwhistle, Tasmania's under-18 male athlete of the year, clocked 8:11.32, two seconds down on the Tasmanian record he set last year, but enough to beat Victorian Zak Patterson (8:12.59) and Kiwi Matthew Baxter (8:14.73). 

Fellow Tasmanian Hugh Nicklason, 17, of Hobart's Eastern Suburbs, finished eighth in the 20-strong field nine seconds inside his personal best in 8:27.05 while North Launceston's James Hansen, 20, went close to his PB with 1:52.27 which earned him sixth in the open 800m won by New South Welshman Joshua Ralph.

Birtwhistle yesterday travelled to Falls Creek for a week-long altitude training camp with the NSW Institute of Sport triathlon squad and plans to return there in January.

``Next year I'm looking at moving to a better training environment and NSW is one of the best in Australia so I'm keen to see their training methods and coaches and see if that's where I want to go,'' he said.

tigious race and a lot of people that won this have gone on to some pretty big things.''

Launceston's 18-year-old athletics and triathlon champion judged a tactical race to perfection, clocking a slower time than the one which earned him third last year but breaking a quality under-20 field on the last lap.

``I'm pretty happy with that,'' Birtwhistle said after a recovery swim in Melbourne yesterday morning.

``The time was not that quick but tactics played a big part. I sat in the pack and waited until I thought it was a good time to make my move.

``I went with 500m to go, was able to get a good lead and then hung on to the line. I had been feeling really good until I went but I was able to hold them off and in the end it was fairly comfortable.

``In athletics, that's probably the biggest win I've had. It's one of the biggest crowds for athletics I've been to and was really good.''

Birtwhistle, Tasmania's under-18 male athlete of the year, clocked 8:11.32, two seconds down on the Tasmanian record he set last year, but enough to beat Victorian Zak Patterson (8:12.59) and Kiwi Matthew Baxter (8:14.73). 

Fellow Tasmanian Hugh Nicklason, 17, of Hobart's Eastern Suburbs, finished eighth in the 20-strong field nine seconds inside his personal best in 8:27.05 while North Launceston's James  Leg 1Hansen, 20, went close to his PB with 1:52.27 which earned him sixth in the open 800m won by New South Welshman Joshua Ralph.

Birtwhistle yesterday travelled to Falls Creek for a week-long altitude training camp with the NSW Institute of Sport triathlon squad and plans to return there in January.

``Next year I'm looking at moving to a better training environment and NSW is one of the best in Australia so I'm keen to see their training methods and coaches and see if that's where I want to go,'' he said.

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