5000m runner Jessica Hull has today been selected to the Australian Olympic Team for the Tokyo Olympics.
Hull joins four other athletics athletes announced today on the Aussie team. Reigning javelin World Champion Kelsey-Lee Barber, Rio bronze medallist walker Dane Bird-Smith, Stewart McSweyn (5000m and 10000m) and racewalker Jemima Montag.
Jessica Hull (NSWIS) is the current national champion, winning her title at the national championship held before COVID-19 event cancellations.
As national and world champions who have achieved a Tokyo 2020 qualifying result, the five athletes qualified for auto-nomination to the AOC under the Athletics Australia nomination criteria and were officially selected to the team today.
The long layoff from international competition hasn’t slowed down Jessica Hull, with the 23-year-old’s debut Olympic selection coming just a week after breaking the national 5000m record that has stood since 2002, running 14.43.8 in her first race back at the Monaco Diamond League event last Friday.
“It gives me goosebumps to think about Tokyo,” Hull said.
“While we have to wait another year, it will increase the buildup and heighten the emotion, we’re going to be so happy when we get out there. It’s a childhood dream and now I know I’ll be there in Tokyo.”
On breaking a record that has stood since she was just five years old, Hull showed the power of finding comfort in discomfort to push past her own boundaries.
“You don’t grow by going out and running perfect races – I think repeat exposure to situations that are very challenging to me is crucial. It’s the culmination of so much consistent hard work and continual belief that eventually there’ll be a chance to showcase what I’m doing in training. This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for and I’m not going to waste it.”
“The biggest thing the past few months has showed me – through lockdown and quarantine, treadmill runs to just doing your part to stop the spread – we can achieve a lot more than we think we can. I was so lucky to have a lot of people around me back home who were willing to help out however they could.”
Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman welcomed the athletes to the Australian Olympic Team.
“Congratulations to these athletes on earning their spot on the Team for the Tokyo Games,” Mr Chesterman said. “Each of them has shown what outstanding athletes they are, and we are excited to add our five track and field athletes to the Team, as athletics is always such an important part of every Games.
“Having moved beyond the original dates of Tokyo 2020, the full focus shifts to being ready for 23 July next year. On being told of their selection all five athletes have been positive that they can focus fully on the challenge ahead, to allow them to be at their best for the Games.
“This is a challenging time for athletes and sports across the world, but this is a day to celebrate for the athletes, their families, coaches, supporters, friends and the athletics community who have helped them reach this milestone.
“I also want to thank Athletics Australia for its work with athletes from the community level to the champions named to the Olympic Team for Tokyo today.”
Today’s selection takes the selected Team size for Tokyo 2020 to 78 athletes of an expected 480-strong Team.
The Australian Olympic Committee has confirmed selected athletes shall remain members of the Australian Olympic Team to Tokyo, and athletes who have completed the entire qualification process, under the existing National Federation nomination criteria and international qualification systems, shall be nominated and selected in line with the existing policy.