Hills Creates History on Olympic Track

Posted on August 16, 2016 by

Madeline Hills has created history in Rio with the greatest ever result for an Australian steeplechaser at an Olympic Games.

Hills was one of two Australians competing in the final of the 3000m steeplechase and crossed the line in seventh.

It was the first time an Australian athlete had ever qualified for the final of the event.

The NSWIS runner collapsed over the line after taking more than a second off her personal best in oppressive conditions inside the Olympic Stadium.

The 29 year old finished in a time of nine minutes, 20.38 seconds. Fellow Australian Genevieve LaCaze was ninth.

“After the heat (run) I had no response whatsoever until I saw my husband and burst into tears and it was just hey, I’m not going to be standing there wondering where I would have finished,” Hills told the AOC website.

“We decided if I finished last in this race and I tried really hard I’d be more than happy with that.”

“I had to collapse over the line, I think that may be my first collapse over the line moment, so that’s a breakthrough in itself.”

The future looks bright for Australian sprinting following the impressive debut performance from NSWIS track star Ella Nelson in the 200m.

Nelson qualified for after finishing second in her heat in a time of 22.66.

The national champion was just outside her own personal best of 22.53 set in February this year and came despite a crippling hamstring injury in the build-up to the Games.

“It was really fun, I’m so happy just to have completed that race,” Nelson said.

“I haven’t raced since April, so coming in here I was just super nervous. I had to really think about my race plan last night and go through the motions.”

“I ran a bit scared but I am definitely going to improve on that into the semi.”

NSWIS athletes will feature heavily in today’s athletics session.

Former world champion Dani Samuels competes in qualifying in the women’s discus throw.

It will be her third Olympic campaign and the signs are good after finishing second at the Diamond League event in Shanghai in May.

800m runner Selma Kajan will compete in her first Olympics.

She won silver at the national championships to lock in her spot on the team.

Selma is a second generation runner. Her parents were both highly-ranked athletes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and her mother, Biba, still holds the 800m national record, 31 years after setting the time.

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