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|August 21, 2000||
Host nation look to mine goldGreg Buckle in Sydney
Australia coach Chris Wardlaw is confident of home success at next month's Sydney Olympics despite the lack of exceptional performances at the national championships.
"We'll have a strong team, I'm assuming we'll do very well," Wardlaw said on Saturday at the end of the three-day meeting.
"In general, I'm as upbeat as I always am. Emma George, if she gets to 4.40 (metres in the pole vault), she's going to be threatening the medals."
George won the national title with 4.40 and her best this year is 4.50, 13 centimetres shy of American Stacy Dragila's world record.
George, a former circus acrobat, said there were about seven gold medal chances in the pole vault.
"It depends what happens on the day. I'm just happy to be jumping here in Australia with a home crowd," she said.
Australia's best gold medal chance, women's world number one 400 metres runner Cathy Freeman, has already qualified for the national team and is competing in Europe.
Louise Currey, javelin silver medallist at the Atlanta Games, said that a serious knee injury would not stop her competing in Sydney.
Currey, rated Australia's best prospect behind Freeman, suffered cruciate ligament and cartilage damage to her left knee while winning the national title on Thursday.
Currey, ranked two in the world behind Norway's Trine Hattestad, said she would have surgery on Monday and planned to compete in a brace at next month's Games.
"All I need is half a chance. The Olympics are only in Australia once in a lifetime," said Currey, who competed as Louise McPaul in 1996.
"I will start with standing throwing and slowly build up to being able to run and then throw. I don't think I will do much throwing before the qualifying day before the Olympics."
Athletics Australia will announce their final squad of about 80 athletes on Sunday.
Mail Sports Editor
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