Teenage sprinter Riley Day in action at the Queensland International Track Classic in Brisbane.It hasn’t been easy, but Riley Day believes she’s finally ready to rub shoulders with the world’s best sprinters at the Commonwealth Games.
The teenage sprint sensation is excited, nervous, daunted and a whole raft of other emotions rolled into one as she braces for her biggest test yet on the Gold Coast.
Day, who turns 18 on Friday, wrapped up her pre-Games preparations with a run in the 200m at the Queensland International Track Classic on Wednesday night.
Running into a strong headwind, she came third with a time of 23.57 seconds – pipped by one hundredth of a second by England’s Bianca Williams – trailing Jamaican winner Sherlicka Jackson (23.05).
“I knew it was going to be a really hard race so I just had to concentrate on myself, not anyone else,” Day said.
“I think I did that quite well for me.”
That’s been Day’s goal since her debut at last year’s world championships – to stop thinking about the star-studded competition in the lanes next to her.
There will be plenty of it at Carrara Stadium next month, including Williams – who took 200m bronze at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games – as well as Jamaica’s Olympic champion Elaine Thompson and England’s Dina Asher-Smith.
“That was my first time running against the world stage like that,” Day said of her experience in London.
“From looking back, London to now, I’ve really developed myself and trying to keep my eye on me the whole race.
“It’s been difficult, I’m not going to lie, but I’m slowly getting there.”
Day produced a personal-best time of 22.93 into a 1.7m/sec headwind last month at Carrara – the fastest 200m by an n junior since Raelene Boyle won silver at altitude in the 1968 Olympics.
She can already feel that her profile is about to explode on the Gold Coast, which is only a short drive from her hinterland home in Beaudesert.
Day said it was all starting to feel “surreal” after receiving her official team kit and moving into the athlete’s village.
“I was getting a blood test just to check my iron levels and stuff and (the nurse) was like, can I have a photo with you for my grandson?” she laughed.
“I was like, is this really a good time? Fair enough.”