Rose Davies "did everything she needed to do", according to coach Scott Westcott, on the way to defending her Australian 10,000-metre crown at Melbourne's Lakeside Stadium on Wednesday night.
Westcott said the win, in hot and humid conditions, puts the Newcastle 22-year-old in "the box seat" as she aims to qualify for the World Athletics Championships in the US state of Oregon in July (15-24) and the Commonwealth Games in the English city of Birmingham (July 28-August 8).
Davies won the Zatopek:10 in 32 minutes and 58.45 seconds with Eloise Wellings second in 33:00.87 and Tokyo Olympian Isobel Batt-Doyle third in 33:04.69.
The run was the Novocastrian's first competitive hit-out of 2022 and came six months on from her Olympics debut. Davies represented Australia in the women's 5000m in Tokyo, finishing 18th in her heat.
Qualifying standards for the world titles and Commonwealth Games are the same as last year's Olympics - 15:10 for the 5000m and 31:25 for the 10,000m.
"It was quite hot in Melbourne, so it was not the conditions for running fast," Westcott told the Newcastle Herald on Thursday.
"But there's a lot of value in winning a selection race if the athlete doesn't get the time. So, in Rose's case, we were never really trying to run fast this race. This race was about trying to win, putting herself in the best position she can in terms of selection for world championships and Commonwealth Games later in the year.
"It means as long as Rose can achieve the qualifying standard, she'll be the first one picked."
Davies has identified a handful of other events in the coming months, including a 5000m at the Adelaide Invitational on February 12, a 10,000m as part of Hobart's Run The Bridge on February 27 and nationals in Sydney (March 26-April 3).
"It's about putting in some really good months of training while she's in Australia and racing quite sparingly," Westcott said.
"We're hopeful that she can travel overseas and spend some time in the US and be able to run some of the races that they have over there, which I think will suit Rose rather well. That's all still up in the air at the moment.
"But, at the end of the day, we're really happy with how Rose ran last night, the form that she clearly has. She's been doing a lot of work, training with a couple of Newcastle coaches in the gym and a sprints coach as well, so there's a lot of people who are helping her out and trying to get her to that next level."
Meanwhile, Jack Rayner won his first Australian 10,000m title at the seventh attempt. Rayner crossed the line in 28:16.86 on Wednesday night ahead of David McNeill (28:22.08) and Liam Adams (28:46.35).
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