Fifth national title for studious Solomon

Steven Solomon on his way to victory in the men’s 400m open final at the 2017 National Athletics Championships in Sydney on April 1. Photo: Athletics Australia / Getty Images

PICTURE this for a horror preparation for a national athletics meet.

Doing final exams at Stanford University in California followed by a graduate medical school admissions test, catching a long distance flight to his home city of Sydney just five days out, and making a guest appearance at the Maccabi NSW Jewish Sports Awards.

All this while fitting in training.

Steven Solomon not only managed to juggle all these things, but won gold in the men’s open 400m final at Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday night.

In doing so, he became the national titleholder for an equal record fifth time.

After coasting through the heat and semi-final in third gear in wet conditions to qualify in second position for the final in 47.33 seconds, the 2012 Olympic Games finalist said “it was good to get the legs pumping, but I obviously want to pick it [the pace] up a little on the weekend”.

He did so, winning the final in 46.66 seconds, but was pushed all the way, winning by a margin of just 0.11 seconds over NSW teenager Jackson Collett.

Queenslander Alex Beck had led at the final turn and up to within 70 metres of the finish line, before Solomon and Collett managed to click into top gear.

In a trackside interview with while resting on the ground, an exhausted Solomon said he executed well, but his time “wasn’t really amazing”.

“When Alex [Beck] put the pressure on, I stayed calm.

“I’m happy I got the win, absolutely. Now I’ll regroup and find some good races in America.”

Later he tweeted “thank you to my wonderful team for helping me to this title [win] – back to training now before I go looking for a London [2017 World Championships qualifying] time.”

Solomon agonisingly missed out meeting the qualifying time to represent Australia at the 2016 Olympic Games by just milliseconds.

His best official time so far this season is 46.18 seconds, posted in the United States.

“I am confident that I can get back into the shape that I found myself in in London [in 2012],” Solomon said.

“And life outside of running has never been better.”

Other Jewish and/or Maccabi athletes also represented their states and posted strong results at the national championships.

NSW athlete Elizabeth Baral finished an impressive fourth in the women’s U20 pole vault final, scaling 3.6 metres.

Sydney’s Danielle Rutstein made the girls’ U15 high jump final, finishing in equal seventh place with a best jump of 1.55 metres.

Victorian Alwyn Jones, 32, won silver in the men’s triple jump.

The 2006 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist qualified for the final in second position, and maintained that result in the final, jumping 16.13 metres, just 58cm behind gold medal winner, Japan’s Ryoma Yamamoto.

Victorian Linda Leverton won a bronze medal in the women’s triple jump final (12.97 metres), Jason Kozica came ninth in the men’s open 10km walk, Will McIntyre got a PB of 16.21 seconds to come 13th in the men’s U17 110m hurdles and Yotam Kimchi came 11th in the men’s U18 triple jump.

SHANE DESIATNIK