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Ramsden still on track for Tokyo

Western Australian middle-distance runner Matt Ramsden believes he will be better placed to compete in the Tokyo Olympics next year, with another year of training and honing his craft under his belt.

The 22 year old Western Australian was set to mark his 23rd birthday on July 23rd this year by being a part of the Australian Olympics squad on the scheduled date for the opening ceremony, but is now setting himself up for a tilt at a Gold medal for his country in 2021.

“Initially it wasn’t ideal, but when I had time to reflect I realised being one year older probably suits me a lot better,” Ramsden told Sports Drive on Wednesday.

“Distance runners tend to reach their peak form usually in their late 20’s, so it’s actually a blessing in disguise I think.”

Ramsden won his first gold medal at the Oceania Championships in Townsville last year, and came second at the Australian 5km Olympic trials earlier in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic scuppered the Olympic dream, for now at least.

Ramsden reflected on his breakthrough gold medal triumph and his path towards a likely Olympic debut.

“It was awesome. It was my first international medal,” he said.

“I had to come all the way from Europe (to Townsville), I travelled 20 odd hours and then raced within 24 hours off the plane. Then I headed back within 48 hours to London. I needed to get those points to try and qualify for the Olympics. It was a quick trip but I’m glad I got it done over there.”

There are two ways to qualify for the Olympics in Ramsden’s chosen distance of 1500m, to either run the record time of 3 minutes and 35 seconds (or less) or be in the top 40 ranked runners over the distance globally.

He is currently ranked 23rd in the world, with the prospect of future races to confirm his spot at Tokyo next year once some of the restrictions are eased.

Ramsden was confident of further competitions in 2020 to press his case, with the Australian Olympic Committee exploring the option of trans-Tasman events involving New Zealand to prepare their athletes.

“I’m always the first to put my hand up for a competition,” he said.

“Whether it’s against the Kiwis or racing here in Perth which I’m trying to get on when the restrictions settle a little bit, I’ll be ready.” I’m pretty fit and the guys I’m training with are pretty fit. We’re all ready to go.”

Ramsden is hopeful of racing in Europe later this year, before preparations for Tokyo ramp up in 2021.

IMAGE: Matt Ramsden Twitter


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