• DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 04: Australia win the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens - HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series on December 4, 2015 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
There's a host of teams and athletes in action across the globe this weekend. Here's our pick of them.
By
Stuart Randall

Source:
Australian Olympic Committee, Zela, Australian Rugby Union
19 Feb 2016 - 5:08 PM  UPDATED 19 Feb 2016 - 5:08 PM

MELISSA WU

It's hard to believe but Melissa Wu, 10 year veteran of the diving scene, is only 23 years old. The team captain endured a devastating 2014 following the death of her sister, but after a break from the sport, Wu returned to claim World Championship bronze in Kazan. And this weekend, Wu, a silver medallist from Beijing, gets a taste of the 2016 games, with the test event and World Cup, in Rio's outdoor venue. 

Australia has already qualified every available individual spot for Rio, plus the women’s 3-metre synchro team. But it is still to qualify the men’s 3-metre synchro team, as well as the men’s and women’s platform synchro combinations.

To qualify a place in Rio in the synchro events teams must finish in the top seven at the World Cup. Wu will partner Brittany Broben in the 10m Synchro.

MIAO MIAO

Tweed Heads is the venue for one of Australia's most decorated athletes. Four time Olympian Table Tennis star Miao Miao is aiming for another trip to the big show when the Qualifying tournament kicks off on Friday.

But 35-year-old Miao knows it’s going to be difficult. Just five months ago Miao had a baby, and she admits it’s been a struggle getting time on the table since.

“I have a lot of things going on at the moment,” Miao said.

“I want to keep playing. In Australian there is not the professional players, most players are just social so there is not that pressure.

“I know it’s getting tougher to qualify, because the younger players have more time for practice, and they go to Europe to play.”

 ALANA BOYD

It'll be a night of top quality field events in Adelaide on Saturday with Alana Boyd in the form of her life after breaking her own national Pole Vault record, with a jump of 4.77m on the Sunshine Coast.

Boyd, who finished 11th in the London Games believes theres more to come.

"My result (11th at the Worlds) in Beijing last year made such a difference," Boyd said.

"I proved to myself that I could do it when it counted and that's given me such a boost. I know that I can do it - there's no excuses."

"I have time now to keep tweaking the things that continue to improve and I am confident I can find leaps above 4.80m this season."

The meet starts at 5.30 local time on Saturday at the SA Athletics Centre in Mile End.

SEVENS TEAM

A number one world ranking won’t be changing anything for the Australian Women’s Sevens team when they compete at Sao Paulo this weekend.

The Aussies are gunning for their second straight World Series leg win, after claiming the opening tournament in Dubai two months ago.

Coming into the tournament of the back of a scintillating performance in three exhibition games at the Sydney 7s, the spotlight has rarely been greater on the side.

Stand-in captain Shannon Parry said the extra attention from opponents and fans would only be good for the side leading into August’s Rio Olympics.

“We’ve got a number of big game players they love that (crowds), they thrive off that energy and  it’s a great opportunity for us,” she said.

“Come Rio that’s probably what it’s going to be like, crowd cheering or booing so it’s a good rehearsal for that going forward.”

Australia will face Ireland, Canada and Fiji in its Sao Paulo pool this weekend, with selected finals to be shown on FOX SPORTS ONE 501 LIVE on Monday morning from 6:30am AEDT.

GILLIAN BACKHOUSE

Olympic hopeful Gillian Backhouse wasn’t a pretty sight when she crashed onto the track at Brisbane’s Lakeside Velodrome in a massive pile up during a Criterium bike race last Sunday at the Pine Rivers venue.

Apart from some cuts and bruises, some major repairs to her bike and a shredded jersey, the 23-year-old was able to dust herself off and prepare to get back on her bike for Sunday’s OTU Oceania Cup Triathlon in Devonport.

“Gill was pretty luck actually, some of the boys she was racing ended up in hospital with broken bones but all she really had was a busted bike which we’ve been able to fix,” said her QAS coach Stephen Moss.

“It could have been a whole lot worse that’s for sure and it could have come before a race like Abu Dhabi but she has been able to keep training for Devonport and in fact she will be going into this race pretty tired."

Backhouse is looking for a Rio spot following a breakthrough 2015 season. Her best finish in the elite World Triathlon Series was in Edmonton where she crossed the line third.

"Every race has grown my confidence and I've learned something new so hopefully this year that'll mean I can pull out some even better races," Backhouse said.

The World Under-23 silver medallist will line up in Tassie with some very familiar names including Erin Densham, Andrea Hewitt, and Nicky Samuels.