Claudia Hollingsworth beats quality field in women’s 800m at Maurie Plant Meet

Claudia Hollingsworth claimed a thrilling win in the women’s 800m at the Maurie Plant Meet on Thursday night.

Claudia Hollingsworth claimed a thrilling win in the women’s 800m at the Maurie Plant Meet on Thursday night. Photo: Getty

Teen middle-distance sensation Claudia Hollingsworth has crashed through the two-minute barrier for the first time to claim a stunning victory over a loaded women’s 800m field at the Maurie Plant Meet.

Hollingsworth stripped nearly two seconds off her two-year-old personal best, stopping the clock at one minute 59.81 seconds to throw down the gauntlet in an event that boasts unprecedented depth in Australia.

Birmingham Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Abbey Caldwell was second in 2:00.54, with national record holder Catriona Bisset third.

But it was very much Hollingsworth’s night  in an event where spots on the Australian team for the Paris Olympics will be hotly contested.

“I’m so happy, it’s my first PB since I was 16,” said Hollingsworth, who is coached by Craig Mottram.

“It’s been a while since I could crack that 2:01, so to go under two minutes is just crazy.

“It was basically a national final, just crazy the depth in the Aussie runners at the moment, and to be up against those girls, it was insane to think about.”

Training partner Bendere Oboya made the early running, but it was Caldwell who moved into the lead at the top of the final straight.

That was the cue for Hollingsworth to put the foot down as she stormed home to claim the win.

The Victorian is also an accomplished 1500m runner, but her flying run over two laps on Thursday night at Lakeside Stadium might prompt a change of tack.

Stewart McSweyn salutes after triumphing in the John Landy Mile. Photo: Getty

Fully fit and confident after a couple of years dogged by injury and illness, Stewart McSweyn claimed a big scalp when he took down 2022 1500m world champ Jake Wightman from Britain in the mile.

After the pacemakers dropped off, McSweyn ran the final two laps at the front and was strong enough to hold on and win in 3:52.00 ahead of Wightman (3:52.11) and young gun Cameron Myers, who clocked a PB of 3:52.44.

McSweyn reckoned it was his best win since his Oslo and Brussels Diamond League triumphs in 2021.

“In this sport you have to have a clear run because the standard is too good,” the Tasmanian said.

“I’m the healthiest I’ve been at this time of year, and I know I can improve a lot from here.”

Two-time Australian champion Liz Clay took a huge step forward in her comeback from serious injury, downing a high-quality field to win the women’s 100m hurdles in 13.02sec.

Clay was in career-best form back in 2022 before smashing into a barrier in the opening round at the world championships in Oregon and breaking her foot, leading to a long stint on the sidelines.

Michelle Jenneke was second in 13.12, with American Queen Claye third in 13.16.

Rohan Browning completed the sprint double, winning the 100m in 10.34 and also triumphing in a rare outing over 200m in 20.80.

Oceania record-holder Zoe Hobbs from New Zealand (11.34) held off the challenge of new Australian record-holder Torrie Lewis (11.40) in the women’s 100m.

Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Nicola Olyslagers was untroubled in winning the women’s high jump with 1.99m, but Diamond League discus champion Matt Denny (65.09m) was bested by New Zealander Connor Bell (65.18m) for the second time in a week.


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