Riley Day is the best Australian sprint prospect since Raelene Boyle

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

 , ,

19 Have your say

    Australian athlete Riley Day wins the Women 150 Meter during the NITRO Athletics series session 3 at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    Related coverage

    There’s nothing more exciting in sport than watching a teenager like Riley Day emerge as a potential superstar.

    Last Thursday night, in the second Nitro Athletics meet at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne, the 16-year-old stormed home to finish second in the women’s 100 metres to Natasha Morrison, a member of the Jamaican 4×100 relay that won 2015 world championship gold in Beijing.

    Morrison clocked 11.69, Riley 11.71 – there was little in it.

    Last night, Riley Day ran the race of her young life.

    She took on a world class field over the rare 150 metre distance that included Morrison, and English Olympian Margaret Adeoye.

    Day blitzed the field from the gun, stopping the clock at 17.63 from Adeoye 17.78, and Morrison 17.82.

    “It was the best feeling ever,” was how an out-of-breath Riley described her sensational victory.

    Not since Raelene Boyle made her Olympic Games debut as a 17-year-old to win silver at Mexico City in 1968 has an young Australian women made such an impact.

    Day will be 17 for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year, and judging by her composure and fearless ability, she will be a smash hit.

    I had never heard of her until this meet.

    Riley Day, Australian athletics sensation

    Researching Riley Day came up with the fact she was the outstanding athlete last December in the All Schools Championship clocking times in the under 18 sprints that were better than previous champions and eventual Olympians Lauren Hewitt, and Sally Pearson.

    Little wonder with her effortless, but powerful sprinting reminding me of another great Australian sprinter Marjorie Jackson who won 100 and 200 Olympic gold in 1952 at Helsinki.

    Obviously Usain Bolt, the undisputed world’s best sprinter of all time, was the standout of the hugely successful three Nitro meets at the Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne, with a seating capacity of 6000.

    But the three meets averaged close to 8000, and the crowd was treated to two and a half hours each night of world class athletics – with Riley Day last night deserving of the most sustained applause.

    She sent shivers up the spine with that sensational win, and has the world at her feet.

    But the meets proved Australia has a depth in track talent that hasn’t been seen for decades.

    Milers Heidi See and Ryan Gregson head the list, but Morgan Mitchell, Luke Stevens, and Luke Mathews are high quality campaigners.

    The only weak link are the field athletes where there’s a lot of work needed to raise their performance bar.

    Especially long jumper Fabrice Lapierre who disgraced himself last Thursday night when he was disqualified in the 4×100 mixed relay that cost the Australians the second meet on points to the Bolt All Stars.

    Last night in the long jump, his forte, Lapierre failed to register a distance.

    He had better take a long hard look at himself before selectors make him a former athlete.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

    Do you find yourself logged out of The Roar?
    We have just switched over to a secure site (https). This means you will need to log-in afresh. If you need help with recovering your password, please get in contact.

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (19)

    • February 12th 2017 @ 8:46am
      BrainsTrust said | February 12th 2017 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      JAck Hale is the Australian record holder for u18 and u20 and most have never heard of him. The TV networks cover less sports these days.

    • February 12th 2017 @ 10:24am
      Rick Diznek said | February 12th 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

      No comment on the millions of fans hiding in the shade in Brissie, Davo?

      • Columnist

        February 12th 2017 @ 11:02am
        David Lord said | February 12th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        What on earth has rugby in Brisbane got to do with track and field in Melbourne?

    • February 12th 2017 @ 11:08am
      Rick Diznek said | February 12th 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

      About as relevant as your comments on rugby league.

      • Columnist

        February 12th 2017 @ 1:45pm
        David Lord said | February 12th 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

        Who wrote that for you RD, there are a lot of words in the comment – 8.

        • February 13th 2017 @ 1:29pm
          Rick Diznek said | February 13th 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

          Now now Davie just because 1983 didn’t work out for you lol

      • February 13th 2017 @ 6:47am
        Daveski said | February 13th 2017 @ 6:47am | ! Report

        I can’t tell if Rick is a child or simply a d-bag.

        • February 13th 2017 @ 1:29pm
          Rick Diznek said | February 13th 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

          PW X 10,000

    • Roar Guru

      February 12th 2017 @ 11:08am
      Riley Pettigrew said | February 12th 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

      Riley certainly looks like a promising talent David. Hopefully she lines up at London later in the year.

      We have some strong middle distance runners in Gregson, Ramsden and Riseley as well as Heidi See and Linden Hall. It is great to see Australian athletics is thriving and has been great to see it placed on the big stage.

      Nitro has been very enjoyable, while it could use a couple of tweaks I’m very excited to see what the future holds for Nitro and Australian Athletics.

    • February 12th 2017 @ 2:48pm
      Justin Ahrns said | February 12th 2017 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

      Riley Day and Jack Hale: a couple of bright sparks moving forward for Australian athletics.

      • Columnist

        February 12th 2017 @ 4:12pm
        David Lord said | February 12th 2017 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

        Justin Ahrns, I’v just been looking at the national records. It hasn’t been reported, but that magnificent run by Riley Day last night was an Australian record for 150m on the bend of 17.37.

        Sally Pearson holds the Australian record for 150m on the straight of 16.86, set in 2010.

        • February 12th 2017 @ 5:24pm
          Justin Ahrns said | February 12th 2017 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

          Impressive for sure! Hopefully she can produce on the biggest stage one day!

    • February 12th 2017 @ 4:05pm
      Zach Mottram said | February 12th 2017 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

      Your being very harsh on Fabrice Lapierre, while he did balls up the 4x100m, he was jumping just as big as Jarrion Lawson but unfortunately being millimetres over the line.
      Nitro is very different to normal athletic meets and lapierre would of had more chances at each distance.
      He won’t get dropped from the national team for small mistakes, especially when he is our best jumper

      • Columnist

        February 12th 2017 @ 8:11pm
        David Lord said | February 12th 2017 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

        Zach, what annoyed me was Lapierre showed no remorse whatsoever that his relay stupidity, no small mistake, cost Australia the second meet, and no remorse he constantly fouled in the long jump, no small mistake for Australia’s so-called best.

        On that double showing Lapierre is no team man – shape up or ship out.

        • February 13th 2017 @ 2:48pm
          Marcus said | February 13th 2017 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

          Wow – gutsy to write an article about a sport of which you know nothing. No offense to Heidi See, but she is a 27 year old journeywoman. A million miles from the likes of say Gregson or Genevieve LaCaze, who you didn’t mention at all. Not to mention another competitor from the weekend, Anneliese Rubie.

          Fabrice Lapierre has been a great athlete for Australia. With Mitchell Watt’s retirement he is Australia’s best long jumper by a country mile. And he has a great record of performing at major meets for Australia, as well as on the world stage at Diamond League meets.

          And once again, your lack of knowledge comes to the fore with your mention of selectors. Athletics selectors have relatively little to do with “selecting” when it comes to major meets, especially for something like the long jump. If Lapierre jumps the IAAF Worlds standard (as adopted by AA) of 8.15 between now and July (which is expected), he is heading to London for the World Champs. Maybe try showing some respect for a proven athlete.

          Shame Adam Scott wasn’t teeing up at Pebble Beach this week, so you could bag him too.

          And as for bringing up Marjorie Jackson as a reference point, puhleeze. Not even you are that old to have seen her run. Or are you? Riley Day looks promising, but don’t get carried away with who she beat. It is deep in their off season. Don’t forget Lauren Hewitt made an Olympic team at 17.

          • February 13th 2017 @ 5:33pm
            Rick Diznek said | February 13th 2017 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

            But he writes about rugby league all the time…

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    , ,