Diffey shocks himself to win memorial dash
CONNOR Diffey saved his best performance of the season for the final race.
The reigning Queensland champion, who finished fourth at nationals, smashed his own personal best and registered the fastest 200m time of the season across the country at Townsville on Sunday.
But it was not his gold medal performance that shocked the Queensland University of Technology athlete the most, it was a race two days earlier.
Diffey exploded out of the blocks at the Athletics North Queensland Championships to upset hometown favourite Jake Doran in the time honoured Hec Hogan Memorial 100-Yard Dash.
It was a surprise result for the 26-year-old who is mainly a 200m and 400m competitor and normally avoids the sharp sprints.
Coming out of his season of competition and facing a lengthy block of training, Diffey and his coach Matt Lynch opted to cycle down through the events and had a shot at the stumps in the famed race.
“One hundred yards is a different distance that we thought I shouldn’t have any fears or knowledge about,” Diffey said.
“It was a really good race that I would have no pressure or idea about going into it. There wasn’t a set plan or anything.
“It was a little more get up and go than I am used to. I am a slow start, you can see in any race I compete in. Even across the 400m I am very slow out of the blocks.
“It was all about getting a bit of drive pace going and holding that through the line.
I was able to move through the field nicely.
“I always say I am happy for the outcome on times rather than places, but places is what gets you noticed.”
Diffey said he felt a mix of emotions on the night after upsetting Townsville sprinter Doran who was the favourite for the race despite only training for the past fortnight.
As for his 200m success, in which Diffey ran a personal best of 20.73 in the finals, it has set up the runner with dreams of getting his name into Commonwealth Games contention in 2022.
Diffey finished fourth at the national championships in Sydney earlier this year, but his impressive time in the finals would have been good enough for the gold.
“I read online it is the fastest time of this season, it’s probably a bit rude to come in on the last week of the season and take the title but I am happy with it,” Diffey said.
Townsville speedster Isabella Starr could not be stopped in the John Campbell Miles 100 Yard Dash and beat Cairns’ Kala Montagner and Mackay’s Mikayla Webb in 11.36 seconds.