Kurt Mulcahy claims big scalp in 400m

Kurt Mulcahy, of Mullumbimby.
Kurt Mulcahy, of Mullumbimby. AAP
THE continuing education of Kurt Mulcahy as a rising star of Australian athletics was there for all to see on Saturday night as he claimed third spot in the 400m race at the Sydney Classic against a quality field that included two-time 100m world record-holder Asafa Powell.

Two years ago Mulcahy returned to his Mullumbimby home from the World Athletic Championships in Japan agog with stories about watching Powell warm-up outside the Osaka stadium.

On Saturday the 19-year-old said he would have been too embarrassed if the 100m sprinter beat him over the longer distance.

“I didn’t want to lose to him that’s for sure,” Mulcahy said yesterday.

“I guess after a while you get used to running against the best and after a while you have to start believing you can beat them. I was just happy to do well against a pretty good field. It was a quality field with some runners who had run sub 45 seconds before.”

Olympic semi-finalist Sean Wroe claimed first place in a World Championships A-qualifying time of 45.28sec with American Xavier Carter, a highly regarded college star who has one of the fastest 200m times in history, finishing second. Mulcahy finished third in a personal best time of 45.84sec with Powell just behind in 45.94sec.

 Powell, even though he was out of his comfort zone in the longer race, stormed home in the last 150m.

“I was pacing myself because I knew if I went out too hard I would have died coming home,” Powell said on the Athletics Australia website.

“I’m very, very happy. When I started gaining on them I started to dig and dig and dig and I got very close but it wasn’t enough.”

Other big names such as Commonwealth Games gold medallist John Steffensen, Olympic 4 x 400m silver medal winner Clinton Hill and Olympian Joel Milburn were left in Mulcahy’s wake.

It was the Canberra-based athlete’s second personal best time in two weeks after he broke the magical 46sec mark for the first time in Canberra with a blistering 45.90sec at a Grand Prix meet.
“I feel 100 per cent better on the track than I did last year,” Mulcahy said.

“Obviously, it takes a while to progress in sport and to have that year of training kick in. I’m definitely quicker than what I have run and I think I can run faster as I ran that time really easy.”

If Mulcahy hopes to progress to this year’s World Championships as an individual runner he has to run an A-qualifying time below 45.55sec.

The former Mullumbimby High School student, who now trains under Tudor Bidder at the Australian Institute of Sport, has just started a property valuing degree as an external student at Central Queensland University.

Perhaps as an assignment he could do a case study on his running career as there would be no doubt Mulcahy would find his value to Australian athletics is on the rise.

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