Rohan raises the stakes – and sets his marks on Tokyo 2020

Rohan Browning crosses the line at the Australian Championships
Rohan Browning crosses the line at the Australian Championships. Photo: Athletics Australia

Rohan Browning is the third fastest Australian in history, running a 10.09 in the 100m at the recent Australian Athletics National Championships. He’s now officially booked his ticket to Tokyo 2020.

Matt Shirvington, (who sits second on the list), was on hand to announce Browning’s selection on the Australian Olympic Team.

Shirvington doesn’t formally mentor Browning, but the two have a good relationship.

“I’m so proud of him [Browning],” he said.

“I’ve watched him develop as an athlete. I’ve seen the good times and the bad that have made him a complete athlete. He’s so ready to go and do something special, and I’m really proud of him.”

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Browning was running as the strong favourite at the Australian National Championships, but didn’t let the expectations (or the conditions) hold him back. Frigid temperatures and an unfavourable wind were considerations on the night, but Browning refused to let it affect him.

“I was running as the favourite,” he explained.

“I haven’t done that too many times before. I just knew that if I executed a good race, to the best of my ability, I knew I should get up.

“You can’t control how the other guys perform. You can only control how you run, it’s a very simple sport in that regard.”

Shirvington is confident that Browning has the mental focus needed to perform on the biggest stage of them all.

“If I know him [Rohan], he’s not thinking about my time or anyone else’s time,” Shirvington said.

“I know what he’s thinking. He just wants to get the right race at the right time.”

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Browning echoed the sentiment, noting that Shirvington achieved just that.

“He [Shirvington] did it when he was 19 at the final of the Commonwealth Games,” Browning said.

“That’s what you have to aspire to.

“It’s not about running fast in Australia early in the year. It’s about doing it at a major championship, and that’s a whole other beast.”

Browning has found that the last 12 months, along with the postponement (and threatened cancellation) of the Tokyo 2020 Games, has barely even been a distraction.

“The delay didn’t change anything practically, about how my day would look,” he said.

“I’d still be training six days a week, whether the Games had gone ahead or not. There’s always something on the horizon, something next year.

“In that regard, I didn’t find it that tough to refocus. If there wasn’t going to be an Olympic Games, there was going to be a World Championships eventually, and you don’t want to get caught out of shape.”

Despite his lofty goals, Browning is now focused on the Olympics first and foremost, content to acknowledge how much attending the Games means to him.

“It will definitely be the highest point in my career,” Browning said.

“So far.”

The 10.09 that Browning has to his name stands him in good stead. He knows he is in form, and is a serious chance to make some noise at the Olympics in Tokyo.

He’ll be locked in to his performance, and will hope that it’s the first of many great performances on the world stage.

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