Montag, Cowley led Australian walking charge in Turkey

John SalvadoAAP
Jemima Montag will now contend for medals in two events at the Paris Olympics. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)
Camera IconJemima Montag will now contend for medals in two events at the Paris Olympics. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

Australia's best race walker Jemima Montag will challenge for two medals at the Paris Olympics after the national squad had a big day out at the world team championships in Turkey.

The marathon mixed relay will make its Olympic debut in early August and Australia will have a maximum two pairs on the start line.

Montag - who finished second in the individual 20km race at last year's world track and field championships in Budapest - paired with Rhydian Cowley to finish sixth in the relay in Antalya on Sunday.

They clocked a combined time of three hours and 13 seconds over the 42.195km marathon distance - made up of three 10km legs and one of 12.95km.

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Despite incurring a three-minute time penalty, Rebecca Henderson and Declan Tingay (16th) also finished comfortably inside the top 22 in Turkey to ensure Australia qualified two teams for the inaugural Olympic mixed relay.

The Australian pairings can confidently expect to exceed those efforts in Paris as the main goal in Antlaya was to race conservatively and ensure Olympic qualification.

"It's really exciting to book our ticket for a team event," said 26-year-old Montag, whose burgeoning medal collection includes two Commonwealth golds and the 2023 world championships silver.

"Our team of physiologists, dieticians and coaches made a really good plan for how we spent the break in between the two legs.

"As a race walker, I haven't been able to do a relay or a team event since high school athletics.

"It will add a really nice element to our Olympic experience."

Cowley and Henderson will also contest the individual 20km races in Paris after being named alongside Montag in the first tranche of track and field athletes in the Australian squad last weekend.

Italy's Francesco Fortunato and Valentina Trapletti took home the gold medal in 2:56:45.

The other standout Australian performance in Antalya came from teenager Isaac Beacroft, who won gold in the men's under-20km 10km race in 39:56.

Chinese walkers had won the event at the previous four world championships.

The 16-year-old Beacroft became the youngest walker to win a title at the championships.

"I'm just amazed, I can't believe it. I'm so happy with what I just did," he said.

Australia also claimed team bronze in the men's under-20 race behind China and Japan.

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