Australian record holder Alex Rowe has deferred his studies as he eyes an 800m berth at the Rio Olympics.
Australian record holder Alex Rowe says he's ready to put a disappointing year behind him as he eyes an 800m berth at the Rio Olympics.
Rowe, 23, will return to competition at Saturday's Adelaide Track Classic after withdrawing from last year's world athletics championships in Beijing, citing a lack of form.
He has deferred his postgraduate medical studies this year as he zeroes in on his goal of claiming one of the maximum three 800m qualifying spots on offer for Australia at Rio.
"I've thrown all my eggs into that basket," he said on Friday.
"The study really took away from my athletics and that was disappointing.
"Even though I absolutely loved the course and it was incredibly engaging and enjoyable, it still does take energy away from you.
"This year, I'm just being an elite athlete."
Rowe burst to prominence in 2014 when he equalled Olympic champion Ralph Doubell's 46-year national record of 1 minute, 44.40 seconds in Monte Carlo.
To be considered for Rio, he must join Jeff Riseley and Josh Ralph in beating the 800m qualifying standard of 1:46.00, a target also in the crosshairs of other contenders such as Luke Mathews.
Rowe will also compete next month at the Melbourne World Challenge and Perth Track Classic, where he'll be joined by Kenyan world champion David Rudisha.
"I feel like the way that training is going and the way the body feels, I'm hoping I can open it up with a time that is under the (qualifying) mark," Rowe said.
"At the same time, there are plenty of opportunities. David Rudisha's coming out to Australia so he'll provide a great rabbit to chase in the other meets.
"My whole aim really is just to make Rio. I'm not thinking about the PB."