Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke. Photo: Brendan Esposito
She's the dancing hurdler with more than 25 million YouTube hits, but Michelle Jenneke hopes the new AIS track and her unusual pre-race warm-up can launch her Commonwealth Games bid in Canberra on Saturday.
Internet sensation Jenneke will compete in Canberra as part of a 270-strong ACT Championships field, which also features Olympic Games gold medal winner Sally Pearson, Melissa Breen and Lauren Wells (nee Boden).
The new $1 million AIS track, which is being touted as one of the fastest in Australia, has lured top athletes to the capital as they aim for Commonwealth Games qualifying times.
Jenneke, 20, burst on to the athletics radar two years ago when her pre-race dance routine went viral on YouTube.
More than 25 million people have watched her dance at the 2012 junior world championships.
The crowd and venue will be smaller in Canberra, but Jenneke will still break out in dance before she aims for a Commonwealth Games qualifier.
''I've been doing it [dancing before races] since 2009 and a bit of publicity isn't going to change it,'' Jenneke said.
''It's how I get myself pumped up before I race and I don't think I could race without it, it just happens naturally.
''I was surprised at the reaction. It's a bit of a mental thing, the bigger the race the more I get into it. It should be a cruisy run in Canberra, but I'll still do it.''
The track is being described as one of the fastest in Australia and 100-metre sprinter Breen clocked a Commonwealth Games A-qualifying time of 11.32 seconds two weeks ago.
''Everyone has been talking about the track, I figure I've got to go down and give it a crack to see what I can do,'' Jenneke said.
''People have been clocking some great times. Everyone loves a new track, it's got a bit more spring in it and as an athlete you're just drawn to it.''
Jenneke is competing with minimal preparation, despite clocking 13.6 seconds last weekend for the 100m hurdles - the Commonwealth Games A-qualifying time is 13.1 seconds.
ACT senior and junior championships
Highlights: Lauren Wells in 400m hurdles (Friday, 7.30pm); Michelle Jenneke in 100m hurdles (Saturday, 4pm); Melissa Breen v Sally Pearson in 100m (Sunday, 12pm); Kelsey Lee Roberts in javelin (Saturday, 4pm). Action at AIS from Friday night until Sunday. Entry is free.