Walker Montag in the medal mix at worlds

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Everything is coming together very nicely for walker Jemima Montag, who is well placed to get Australia on the podium in the opening medal event at the world athletics championships.

It's shaping as a warm afternoon in Eugene for the women's 20km race on Friday (early Saturday AEST) and Montag thrives in the hot weather. Tick.

She sits atop the women's overall world rankings in 2022. Big tick.

And the gold and silver medallists from last year's Tokyo Olympics are both absent from the 2022 world titles. Another tick.

At just 26, Montag has already compiled a formidable CV including gold at the 2018 Commowealth Games, 10th at the 2019 world championships and sixth at last year's Tokyo Olympics - all in races where the heat was a major factor.

The biggest threat in Eugene is expected to come from a four-pronged Chinese squad including two Olympic champions in Qieyang Shijie (2012) and Liu Hong (2016).

Montag's coach Brent Vallance also rates the prospects of Spain's European champion Maria Perez and Mexican Alegna Gonzalez who, like the Australian, are in their mid 20s and on the up and up.

"It's certainly wide open," Vallance told AAP.

"The Russians aren't here again, the Chinese are undergoing generational change and the gold and silver medallists from the Olympics aren't here.

"It's a wide open race and Jemima is certainly in the mix and very capable of challenging for a medal.

"Because it's a short year it's very hard for us to gauge where everyone else is at, but what we do know is that Jemima is going well."

The other Australian in the field is 21-year-old Bec Henderson.

On paper, Australia don't have any clear podium contenders in the men's 20km race later on Friday, but Vallance is bullish about the prospects of 25-year-old Declan Tingay, who broke the national 5km record earlier this year.

"If we're talking about the absolute smoky in the Australian team that will slide under everyone's radar, Declan Tingay is that athlete," said Vallance.

"The last three people to hold the national 5K record are Dane Bird-Smith, Jared Tallent and Nathan Deakes, who are our last three male Olympic medallists.

"Along with Jemima, Declan is clearly our brightest walking prospect looking forward to the 2024 Paris Olympics."

Australia's other competitors in the men's 20km are Rhydian Cowley and Kyle Swan.

The walks will take place on a 1km loop course outside the 54,000-capacity Autzen Stadium, the home of the University of Oregon Ducks American football team.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting