Kurt, Aussies fall a fraction short
By Steve Spinks
THE Australian 4x400m relay team featuring Mullumbimby's Kurt Mulcahy missed out on a World Athletics Championship final appearance by one tenth of a second on Saturday.
Missing Australia's best 400m runner, John Steffensen, who withdrew just hours before the heat, the young Australian team faded in the final 100 metres to finish fourth and miss qualification.
The top three teams qualified automatically.
It was a bitter blow to the Aussies, who had been run into third spot on the back of a commanding effort by Mulcahy as the third runner.
"It's a big step up," Mulcahy said on the Australian Athletics website.
"The crowd was absolutely massive out there tonight. I basically came to world champs for the experience for future years and I definitely got that experience.
"It just goes so quick. I was watching Sean (Wroe) run the first leg, then all of a sudden I was out there getting the baton. I hit the 200m mark before I even knew it."
AUSTRALIA led the heat after World University champion Wroe had a strong start.
Dylan Grant ran strongly in the second leg but Australia was behind when the baton was passed to Mulcahy.
Mulcahy overtook the Jamaican runner in the home straight to give Australia the possibility of qualifying automatically.
"I saw Jamaica come up and basically get the baton at the same time," the 18-year-old said.
"Then he came and passed me and I just tried to sit in behind him and come home at the end, which I think I did pretty well.
"I was happy with my run overall, but it's just getting the experience and I'm stoked with that can't ask for anything more."
However, the experienced Mark Ormrod, who ran the anchor leg, was overtaken in the last 100 metres.