AUSTRALIA will field its biggest track and field team since Sydney 2000 at next month’s Rio Games.

The final team was confirmed with 18 new additions to the initial squad which was named in April, bringing the number to 61 which includes 40 Olympic debutants.

There were 86 representatives in Sydney with Melbourne in 1956 having the next biggest team size of 76.

The largest “away” team is 62 at Atlanta in 1996 although the Rio contingent is a chance to go past it with possible additions under the new roll-down qualification system used by the track and field’s world governing body to ensure full fields at major championships.

While the loss of defending Olympic champion Sally Pearson hurts the team’s medal prospects, the depth across the board is the standout with Australia to have the maximum three competitors across 11 events.

For the first time since Sydney 2000 there is a female runner in every track event.

And in comparison with the Atlanta team, whose size was bolstered with four relay teams, there is only one going to Rio — the women’s 4x400m.

That features Australia’s youngest track and field athlete at the Games — 18-year-old Jessica Thornton — while the oldest is 40-year-old marathoner Scott Westcott.

“I’ve dreamed of competing at the Olympic Games since I was five years old,” Thornton said.

“To be only 18 and to have achieved it is something that I will never forget. I was genuinely speechless when I was told I’d been selected, knowing that all my training and dedication to the sport has paid off just made it so special.”

Another new face is South Australian pole vaulter Kurtis Marschall who is the sole representative in an event where Australia has a rich history.

“Australia has an amazing reputation in the pole vault with countless Olympians and world championships representative in the event,” Marschall said.

“I’ve had the privilege of speaking to several national representatives in the event and to continue the tradition that they started is an absolute honour and incredible opportunity.

“This is an opportunity that I aim to make the most of. To have the chance to represent my country at an open international event like this at the age of 19 is ridiculous.”

Other additions yesterday included Jeff Riseley, who is going to his third Olympics, and Peter Bol in the 800m with the pair selected ahead of Sydney’s Joshua Ralph.

In-form Ryan Gregson goes into the 1500m while in the women’s event Zoe Buckman comes in for the injured Melissa Duncan to join Linden Hall and Jenny Blundell.

Athlete Age Born Lives P/Code Event Games
Joel Baden 20 Geelong, Vic Drysdale, Vic 3222 High Jump 1st Games
Jenny Blundell 22 Sydney, NSW Castle Hill, NSW 2154 1500m 1st Games
Peter Bol 22 Khartoum, Sudan Hawthorn, Vic 3122 800m 1st Games
Melissa Breen 25 Canberra, ACT Bruce, ACT 2617 100m 2nd Games
Monica Brennan 22 Melbourne, Vic Watsonia, Vic 3087 4x400m Relay 1st Games
Zoe Buckman 27 Grafton, NSW Glen Iris, VIC 3146 1500m 2nd Games
Matt Denny 20 Toowoomba, Qld Allora, QLD 4362 Discus 1st Games
Ryan Gregson 26 Wollongong, NSW Wollongong, NSW 2500 1500m 2nd Games
Linden Hall 25 Sunbury, Qld Fitzroy North, Vic 3068 1500m 1st Games
Selma Kajan 25 Paddington, NSW Ballarat, Vic 3350 800m 1st Games
Kurtis Marschall 19 North Adelaide, SA Happy Valley, SA 5159 Pole Vault 1st Games
Sam McEntee 24 East Melbourne, Vic Parkdale, Vic 3194 5000m 1st Games
Hamish Peacock 25 Hobart, Tas Sandford, TAS 7020 Javelin 1st Games
Jeff Riseley 29 Dandenong, Vic Harkaway, Vic 3806 800m 3rd Games
Josh Robinson 30 Brisbane, Qld Coorparoo, Qld 4151 Javelin 1st Games
Caitlin Sargent 24 Brisbane, Qld Toowong, Qld 4066 4x400m Relay 1st Games
Jessica Thornton 18 Randwick, NSW Chifley, NSW 2036 4x400m relay 1st Games
Patrick Tiernan 21 Toowoomba, QLD Toowoomba, QLD 4350 5000m 1st Games





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