It will be a family affair at the IAAF World Championships, with up and comer Rachel Tallent (Vic) set to join her three-time Olympic medal winning brother Jared Tallent (Vic) on course for the race walk.
Ensuring her Australian Flame debut, the 22-year-old has been selected in the women’s 20km event alongside national champion Tanya Holliday (SA) and London 2012 Olympian Beki Smith(NSW).
Her very successful older sibling, as well as Moscow 2013 charge Chris Erickson (Vic), will start in both the men’s 20km and 50km walk, while rising star Dane Bird-Smith (Qld) will compete in the men’s 20km walk boasting a new personal best of 1:20:05 from La Coruna (ESP) this month.
“I don’t think anyone would understand how excited I am. Jared is now my coach with his wife Claire and it is going to be amazing to be there together. They prepare my program for me to get out and get done where I live in Canberra and they’ve been so supportive of what I have been doing to improve as a walker,” Rachel Tallent said.
“I’ve got the World University Games next month first and I want to use that as a launching pad for Beijing. The race is there to be a good test of my fitness, but if I can come away with a personal best before the world titles that would be amazing, a real confidence boost.”
Rachel Tallent has always been inspired by Jared Tallent, impressed by how unassuming he is despite almost unrivalled success on the world stage.
“He’s just a really humble person and because we have come from the same environment it is cool to know that if you work hard it can be done. It has been so amazing for my family to sit back and see him do so well. And for me it is amazing to know that the opportunity to be the best you can is there if you work for it,” Rachel Tallent added.
The Tallent siblings were born in Ballarat (Vic), spending their childhood in the area until Jared Tallent relocated to the Australian Institute of Sport to be coached by Brent Vallance.
Jared Tallent is one of the most successful Australian athletes in history, winning three Olympic medals, as well as a further seven (two gold, five bronze) across the Commonwealth Games, IAAF World Championships and the IAAF World Race Walking Cup. He now lives in Adelaide (SA) with his wife Claire Tallent, a former Olympic race walker, who acts as his coach.
Rachel Tallent now lives in Canberra (ACT). She has Australian team experience at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup and this year will start at both the Summer Universiade in Gwangju (KOR) and the IAAF World Championships in Beijing (CHN).
In the women’s marathon, Julia Degan (NSW) has been selected to replace the withdrawing Melanie Panayiotou (Qld). Degan is coached by Mike Lawson.