THE HUNTER Sports Centre at Glendale is preparing to host one of Australia’s highest profile athletes after World Championship silver medalist Mitchell Watt confirmed he will participate in next month’s Hunter Track Classic.
The Hunter region’s annual track and field showcase event, organised by Athletics NSW, will be held on February 2.
It will be the first appearance by the talented long-jumper, often referred to as “Mega-Watt”, at the iconic annual Hunter meet, which forms an important and much anticipated part of Athletics Australia’s National Athletics Series.
“I’ve never visited the Newcastle area before. I’m good friends with Benn Harradine and he has been talking up the place as well as the meet itself. It sounds like a great location to visit so I can’t wait,” Watt said.
While Watt’s career at the top level of international athletics has been relatively short (competing in his first major championships in 2009), the 24-year-old has a long and impressive list of achievements already.
Watt became the youngest ever Australian to medal in a track and field event at a world championships after winning bronze at Berlin in 2009.
He then went on to win a medal of the same colour in 2010 at the World Indoor Championships in Doha.
In 2011, Watt was virtually untouchable in sandpits around the world.
It what was a busy year, the “boy from Bendigo” claimed the Australian national long-jump title, set the current Australian and Oceania long-jump record (8.54m), won silver at the World Championships in Daegu, and took out the prestigious Diamond League Trophy.
Watt comes to the Hunter Track Classic looking to use the popular meet as a platform from which to launch his campaign to win the gold medal at the World Championships, to be held later this year in Moscow (10-18 August).
“I’m looking forward to taking part,” Watt said
“Over the past few years the Hunter Track Classic has been gaining momentum. I streamed it on my computer last year and enjoyed watching the action.”
Watt is looking forward to jumping off against the likes of home-grown international long jumper Shaun Fletcher and Adam Rabone.
In what is sure to be a highlight of the 2013 Hunter Track Classic program, the crowd will have the opportunity to help these jumpers launch themselves into the air with the obligatory runway clap.
“A fun, relaxed atmosphere is good for us (the athletes) too,” Watt said.
“At the same time I want to get the most out of it so will be aiming for a good performance.”