Moneghetti impressed by next generation

‘s Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti is blown away by Comm Games athletics team potential.Steve Moneghetti needs only to look members of ‘s Commonwealth Games athletics team in the eye to know a new era has arrived.

The 1994 Commonwealth Games marathon champion will again serve as the country’s chef de mission in April on the Gold Coast.

But rather than get in the ear of his athletes, the long-distance legend will allow them the space they need to flourish after blowing his mind at the weekend’s national titles.

“I never would have expected the performances that I saw over the last few days; they’re continually amazing me,” he said.

He is most impressed with the country’s sprinting stocks and says their attitude is rubbing off on the team to give it an exciting depth of talent.

“I just think there’s a lot more confidence now in the generation from the 90s to the 2000s. I don’t think we’ve had the depth we’ve got now in the sprinters,” he said.

“Men’s sprinting – I haven’t said those two words together and been excited about it for quite some time.”

Trae Williams’ 100m time of 10.10sec – the fastest by an n in 11 years – lit up the nationals on the weekend while 17-year-old Riley Day became the youngest woman to win the 100m-200m double.

Despite running into a headwind, her 200m time (22.93sec) was the third fastest by an n women under 20, behind only Olympic medal-winning efforts by Raelene Boyle (22.74sec) and Jenny Lamy (22.88sec) in altitude at Mexico’s 1968 Games.

won six able-bodied athletics gold medals four years ago in Glasgow, compared to 14 in Melbourne in 2006.

Defending Commonwealth Games champions Sally Pearson (100m hurdles) and Dani Stevens (discus) will return as strong gold medal chances with Moneghetti hinting the depth was there to eclipse previous medal hauls.

“I’ll try and stay out of their environment; they’re very mature, very professional, humble and modest. But you can sense they have a good sense of where they’re at and what they need to do,” Moneghetti said.

“They want to be part of this new group coming through, you can see it in their eyes.”

He said Athletics deserved credit for keeping the more-senior members at an elite level while bringing on the next crop with success.

“If they perform at the Games like they’ve done (at the national titles) it’s going to be amazing.”

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