Rohan Browning in fresh Paris Olympics twist as tough Australian selection decision looms

Browning will line up in the men's 100m sprint at the Paris Olympics.

Australia's fastest man, Rohan Browning, will take part in the 100m sprint at the Paris Olympics after overcoming a major qualification fright. Browning - a stunning semi-finalist in the 100m at the Tokyo Games in 2021 - was placed 54th in the list of 56 spots available when the qualification period closed on June 30.

But last week Browning suddenly found himself sitting 57th after an update in World Athletics' Road to Paris tables. The 26-year-old Sydneysider therefore appeared to need an athlete to drop out for him to compete at the upcoming Games. However, after the governing body of track and field processed its final calculations he was placed 54th, meaning he will take his place on the blocks at Paris.

Pictured Rohan Browning
Rohan Browning has will line up in the men's 100m sprint at the Paris Olympics. Image: Getty

Of the 56 men who will attempt to earn the crown of the world's fastest man, only 29 hit the entry standard of 10.00 seconds within the qualification period. Jamaica's Kishane Thompson clocked the fastest time, an incredible 9.77 (+0.9). Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala posted the second-fastest time, 9.79 (+1.5), and Jamaica's Oblique Seville registered the third-fastest qualifier with a sizzling time of 9.82 (+0.9).

Browning's best time for the qualifying period was 10.10 (-0.1 wind) although he posted 10.06 in Wollongong in January but was assisted by an illegal wind of 4.1 metres per second. Browning's legal career best is 10.01, which he clocked when he won a heat at the Tokyo Olympics some three years ago.

While he ran a 10.02sec in the Australian championships last year, a knee injury has hampered his preparations for Paris. And in the Australian national championships in April this year, he was well off the pace. In the final, 18-year-old Sebastian Sultana (10.27sec) was victorious ahead of Joshua Azzopardi (10.39sec), Jacob Despard (10.41sec) and Browning (10.41sec).

EUGENE, OREGON - JULY 15: Ackeem Blake of Team Jamaica, Francesco Sansovini of Team San Marino, Rohan Browning of Team Australia and Marvin Bracy of Team United States compete in the Men's 100 Meter heats on day one of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 15, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Rohan Browning will need to find some extra gears if he is to repeat his Tokyo heroics in Paris.

Browning became somewhat of a cult hero at the Tokyo Games, shooting to fame with his flying mullet and exuberant personality and he became a household name when he finished ahead of Jamaican sprinting great Yohan Blake. At the upcoming Paris Games, Browning will compete in the 100m sprint and will likely be selected for the 4x100m men's relay. Australia has selected a five-man squad for that event with the team of Sultana, Despard, Azzopardi and Calab Law, who booked Australia's relay spot in Paris rounding out the group.

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Australian selectors face an incredibly tough selection decision for the middle-distance events, where the country boasts unprecedented depth. Peter Bol (men's 800m), Claudia Hollingsworth and Abbey Caldwell (women's 800m) and Jessica Hull (women's 1500m) were pre-selected after the national championships in April. Commonwealth champion Olli Hoare will start in the men's 1500m.

But since Australia will select a maximum of three runners in the 800m and 1500m races competition is fierce. National record holder Catriona Bisset and rising runner Bendere Oboya are duelling for the one remaining vacancy in the women's 800m. Track and field will be the last Australian sport to name its squad for the Paris games.

with AAP