Birmingham and Bee selected for world relay championships

JOEL Bee and Collis Birmingham will represent Australia in the inaugural IAAF World Track Relay Championships in the Bahamas next month.

Joel Bee running at the Stawell Gift earlier this month.

Bee will run in the 4x100m in Nassau on May 24-25, while Birmingham has been selected in a combined 4x800m and 4x1500m squad.

This is the first time the 21-year-old Bee has been selected for Australia at senior level.

He represented Australia in the 2010 World Junior Athletics Championships.

This selection reinforces Birmingham as Australia’s most versatile distance runner, adding to his appearances in two Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and world championships and world indoor championships on the track, and world cross country titles.

Bee admitted to initially being stunned when informed by Athletics Australia.

Bee, who is based in Melbourne and training under the guidance of Olympian and two-time Stawell Gift winner Josh Ross,

said he knew he was on the verge of selection, but was still shocked by the news.

“It’s exciting to be lining up against the best in the world.” 

Tom Gamble (Queensland), Jarrod Geddes (NSW), Jake Hammond (NSW) and Jin Su Jung (NSW) make up the 4x100m squad.

Bee’s selection for the worlds also keeps him well placed to earn a trip to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games later this year.

He said there were also still plenty of opportunities to run a 100m A or B qualifier in Australia before the team was finalised in June.

Bee put in a solid performance in the Stawell Gift at the weekend.

Starting off the backmark, he reached Monday’s semi-finals.

The world relays will be contested by about 800 athletes, with 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1500m on the program.

The top eight teams in the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m will automatically qualify for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

Ballarat’s other presence in the Australian team for the world relays will be in the form of Ballarat Project members Selma Kajan (NSW) for the women’s 4x800m and 4x1500m and Ryan Gregson (NSW) also for the men’s 4x800m and 4x1500m.

Australia is taking a team of 31 athletes to Bahamas.

david.brehaut@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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