Aussie star Michelle Jenneke has run the fastest time of her life to thunder into the final of the 100m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games.
The 29-year-old was looking absolutely shredded as she stood on the starter’s blocks before her heat and it turns out there is no secret behind the physical shape she is in which has her running the best times in her entire career. She told Channel 7 after the race she is in “the shape of my life”.
Jenneke finished second in Heat 3 at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham and moves into the final with the second-quickest overall time, behind only world record holder Tobi Amusan of Nigeria.
Jenneke’s time of 12.63 will not count as a new personal best because the time was wind-assisted.
However, the form is undeniably there.
Her run on Friday night (AEST) would suggest she is a red-hot medal chance, but she is toning down expectations for the final on Sunday night where five of the eight runners were also in the final of the World Championships in Oregon last month .
“This is a very strong field,” she said.
“It’s a very strong field here. I don’t know if I’ll quite be good enough for a medal, but hopefully I can run a personal best and we’ll see where that puts me.”
It is clear she deserves her place alongside the fastest runners in the world.
“Even when I was young at my first world champs I was never really intimidated by anyone,” she said.
“I feel like for me, when I go out there I’m just trying to put my best foot forward and they’re doing the same thing and if they beat me, they beat me. As long as I’m doing my best then that’s all I really care about.
“I’m not too worried about what the other athletes do, except for using them to try and get faster time.”
She said her peak physical condition is simply the result of finally being able to have a stretch without injuries where she could get in an extended training block.
“I haven’t really changed things. It’s just one of those things where I’ve been able to string together some training where I haven’t been injured,” she said.
“So I’ve actually been able to get every session done. When you do that things seem to come together. That’s really all it is. Nothing too special.”
Jenneke ran a career-saving personal best time of 12.66 at the World Championships.
Jenneke’s time wasn’t even enough for her to sneak into the final as Amusan obliterated her personal best time by almost 0.3 seconds to set the new world record at 12.12.
Jenneke’s time in Oregon made her second-quickest women’s 100m hurdler Australia has ever produced, behind only Sally Pearson.
Jenneke famously went viral with her trademark pre-race shake at the 2012 World Junior Championships and it ultimately led to her being one of the highest-profile stars of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Jenneke was once a household name who attracted global attention — and major endorsement deals from some of the world’s biggest companies. She was sponsored by Coca-Cola at the Rio Games and her face was plastered across billboards in the Brazilian city.
But she copped fierce criticism for a disappointing showing at those Games, finishing sixth in her 100m hurdles heat.
Australian track and field coach at the time, Craig Hilliard, accused Jenneke of arriving in Rio out of shape and questioned whether distractions away from the track contributed to her lacklustre showing. Athletics Australia then cut her funding.
She rebounded for a strong performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and narrowly missed out on a bronze medal.
Four injury-riddled years later and Jenneke is doing plenty to make Australia fall in love with her again.