2023 Chemist Warehouse Australian All Schools Athletics in Perth this weekend. ATHLETICS AUSTRALIA

The future stars of Australian athletics will take their first steps strides towards greatness in Perth this weekend as the 2023 Chemist Warehouse Australian All Schools Athletics Championships will unveil a new crop of champions.

The 2023 edition of the Championships will see more than 1,200 school-age athletes from every state and territory compete as the athletics season heats up across the country. 

The Australian All Schools Championships has a long history of unearthing talent, with past champions including Australian luminaries such as Cathy Freeman, Matt Shirvington, Sally Pearson and today's all-star talents such as Nina Kennedy (pole vault world champion) and Matthew Denny (Diamond League discus champion). 

"All Schools is such a great stepping stone for any athlete in this sport. My favourite All Schools memory was when I was in the U14s. It was the coolest thing to get on the plane to Hobart with my friends, and I remember jumping something like 2.70m," Kennedy said. 

The 2023 Australian All Schools Championships will be the first national athletics meet to hit Perth's shores since the pandemic, with record numbers travelling across the country to see the future stars of Brisbane 2032 in action. 

Perth's own Olivia Dodds will lace up her spikes for the chance to become Australia's fastest schoolgirl in the U18 sprint double. After impressing at the U17 level last year, Dodds has since topped the podium at the Australian Athletics Championships in April and recently broke the WA State U18 200m record when she sprinted to victory in 23.84. 

With the 2024 World U20 Athletics Championships in Lima, Peru, on the horizon, the 17-year-old said: "My goal is to qualify for the Junior World Championships. We'll have some tough competition but I'm ready to go for the gold. The weather looks great, the track is fast and I'm hoping to give everyone something special." 

New South Welshman Isaac Beacroft sent a stern warning to his rivals when he broke the Australian U18 10,000m Race Walk record last weekend and will enter the 5,000m distance with a blistering time of 19:51.91, but Victorian Marcus Wakim, with a personal best of 20:13.51, will be gunning for gold after Beacroft eclipsed his 10,000m record. 

Also from New South Wales is the versatile Izobelle Louison-Roe, who will be competing in the U17 100m hurdles, high jump, triple jump and long jump. At just 16 years of age, her personal best of 1.84m in the high jump will make the talented teenager one of the favourites. 

Australia's young field talent will also steal the show. Tasmania's Arielle Cannell is preparing to unleash the hammer in the U16 and U18 events as she chases the national U16 record set by world champion Alex Hulley. Queensland's Alexander Arbuthnot will take on the U17 pole vault after setting a personal best in the U20 event at the Australian Athletics Championships. 

Some future Paralympic stars will take to the track, as the likes of rising T20 star Teleya Blacksmith looks to add to her medal haul in the ambulant 100m, 200m, 400m, and long jump events after winning three gold medals at the NSW All Schools Championships. 

The 2023 Chemist Warehouse Australian All Schools Championships, supported by the Western Australian Government through Tourism WA, invites families, friends, schools and travellers to see the future stars of Brisbane 2032 in action at the WA Athletics Stadium from December 8-10. 

Deputy Premier of Western Australia, Rita Saffioti, said it was very exciting to welcome Australia's top school-age sporting stars to Western Australia this weekend, with state pride and school honour on the line as they compete in feats of athletic prowess. 

"Mass participation events such as All Schools are an important part of the State's tourism strategy, providing a temporary reason for athletes and their supporters to visit Western Australia for the event, and then extend their stay to explore our state. I encourage the thousands of travellers who have come to Perth for All Schools to take advantage of our vibrant city with its wide range of entertainment and dining options, and to explore popular nearby tourism destinations such as Fremantle, the Swan Valley, or Rottnest Island," she said.