Perth Track Classic 2012
Alana Boyd (WA) and John Steffensen (WA) have entertained a home crowd with convincing wins in the pole vault and 400m respectively at the second leg of the Qantas Australian Athletics Tour tonight, while Sally Pearson (Qld) returned to the hurdles.
In front of a record crowd of 3600 at the Go for 2&5 Perth Track Classic, Boyd continued her impressive domestic campaign, bettering the then personal best of 4.61m she set at the Adelaide Track Classic two weeks ago with a 4.66m clearance. No Australian woman has gone higher outdoors in the pole vault ever, with Kym Howe having recorded 4.65m in Germany five years ago to previously hold the best mark.
Boyd entered the competition at 4.35m, which was the height Vicky Parnov (WA) cleared to claim second place, while her sister Liz Parnov (WA) cleared a world junior championship qualifier of 4.25m for third.
Boyd said: ďItís pretty good, I canít complain and itís nice to actually have a five centimetre PB rather than a one centimetre PB. Itís all coming together, I was a little bit shaky on the runway tonight but hopefully I can fix that for Sydney and jump higher.
ďThe Australian record is there, I know it. I think thatís why I was so frustrated because I know itís there. I just have to go back and have some more jumps this week, and work on my jumps technically. Hopefully it will happen.
ďI think itís been working for me because Iíve been relatively injury free after coming back from Daegu, which is a nice change not coming back from an operation. I guess that the disappointment of missing the final in Daegu spurred me on and Iíve done a lot more jumping than Iíve done before.Ē
This race was Steffensenís first since July last year and the former Commonwealth champion showed his intention from start to finish in lane two, eventually crossing the line in 46.11.
The reigning national champion, Steve Solomon (NSW), crossed the line behind Steffensen in 46.26 while Ben Offereins (WA), who was victorious in Adelaide, came third in 46.49. Trailing the Australian trio was Greg Nixon (USA), who was part of the gold medal winning 4x400m team at last yearís world championships.
Steffensen said: ďThe proof was in the pudding and thatís what you want, athletes to perform well.
ďI went back to basics, times two, if that makes any sense. I worked very, very hard and established, through my team, a great self-belief and belief is everything in track and field.
ďIíve just worked even harder and thatís the key and whenever you have great support in life thatís the key.Ē
Pearson returned to her first hurdles race since last September and she didnít fail to impress, with a comfortable win in 12.86 (+0.4m/s). The time was almost an exact repeat of her opening 2011 run, also in Perth, of 12.85.
The world champion was followed across the line by American NCAA champion Nia Ali (13.39) and New Zealander Andrea Miller (13.48).
Earlier in the evening Pearson clocked 11.28 (+0.4m/s) to win the 100m, Melissa Breen (ACT) took second place (11.53).
Pearson said: ďI couldnít get my strides right, I think I tripped and the fifth or sixth hurdle almost came down but it showed Iím strong enough to keep going.
ďI have Sydney next week so itís good to get one race out and it was a good run, I thought Iíd run close to 12.60 or 12.70. I just had to keep focused tonight.Ē
Henry Frayne (Qld) looked to be in superb form in the menís triple jump and on second round attempt he leaped to a new personal best of 17.14m (+2.5m/s). He was unable to improve that mark with his remaining jumps but undoubtedly views the Olympic qualifying standard of 17.20m as well within his reach.
He said: ďThat was agonizingly close. It may have been an illegal wind for the big jump but it was a legal following wind when I went 17.09m, which is good. But overall it was a PB and a step in the right direction.
ďThatís the first tail wind over 1 m/s Iíve had in about a year or over a season and a half. I was pretty satisfied with those conditions.
ďI may jump in Sydney next week in the long jump though. But after that it will be Melbourne and Iím looking forward to hopefully going to those extra six centimetres.Ē
Reigning Commonwealth champion Tosin Oke (NGR), who has been training with Frayne while in Australia, finished in second place in 16.15m (+0.1m/s), while there was also a huge personal best for Adam Rabone (Vic), in third, with a 15.94m (+1.7m/s).
Reigning Olympic champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton (USA) was the leading name in a discus field, which included three Americans and former world champion Dani Samuels (NSW).
Brown-Trafton led the competition from her first throw of 61.60m and then secured the win with a final heave of 61.71m. The 31-year-old was followed by compatriot Aretha Thurmond (60.96m) and Samuels (60.74m).
Brown-Trafton said: ďItís awesome. Iíve been having a great off-season and this is my first meet since last yearís Diamond League. I feel like this year is going to be pretty cool.
ďI had a good throw today and Iím looking forward to next weekend in Sydney. Iím just so excited that I could come to Perth and have this awesome weather. Perth is beautiful, I love the west Australian coast.
ďMy aunt lives in Tasmania so I hopefully get to go see her and some family. I love athletics in Australia and all the meet coordinators; theyíve always been really good to me. So itís just a great place to open up.Ē
Russ Winger (USA) and Benn Harradine (Vic) also continued their rivalry in the discus with the Commonwealth champion looking to avenge two prior defeats to the American this Australian season.
Winger had led the competition until Harradine looked to have stolen the win with his penultimate season best throw of 63.40m. However, the 27-year-old American pulled out a massive 65.46m with his final attempt to finish ahead of Harradine and also take the world-lead.
In other highlights:
- Former US pole vault champion Mark Hollis (USA) entered at 5.35m and it would be his only recorded height, but enough to win with Joel Pocklington (Vic) behind him in 5.15m
- Brendan Cole (ACT) entered the home straight just leading Justin Gaymon (USA) in the 400m hurdles but the American powered through to cross the line first in 50.21 with Cole in second (50.60)
- Lauren Boden (ACT) edged ever closer to an Olympic qualifier as she dipped under the 56-second barrier for the first time this season to win in 55.61. Sarah Carli (NSW) and Tessa Consedine (Vic) added to their list of world junior qualifiers with 59.10 and 59.66 respectively
- In the womenís long jump Brooke Stratton (Vic) recorded a world junior qualifier of 6.43m to finish second, behind Kerrie Perkins (ACT) who won in 6.45m
- Melissa Breen (ACT) went one better in the 200m to cross the line first in 23.76 (-0.5m/s), followed by Hayley Butler (NSW) (23.80). World youth championship finalist Monica Brennan (Vic) finished fourth in a world junior championship qualifier (24.03)
- Brenton Rowe (AUT) won the 1500m in 3:39.11 followed by Jordan Williamz (Vic) (3:39.91) and Nick McCormick (GBR) (3:41.54)
- Fabrice Lapierre (NSW) won the long jump with a third-round leap of 7.81m
- Anthony Alozie (Vic) made up for the disappointment of being disqualified at the Adelaide Track Classic two weeks ago, by winning the 100m in Perth (10.37 +0.7m/s). Isaac Ntiamoah (NSW), who won in Adelaide, finished second in 10.43 and Nick Hough (NSW) ran a PB, as well as a world junior championship qualifier of 10.47.
Re: Perth Track Classic 2012
Do you think Sally feels pressure to perform? Her comments so far this race season have seemed like this. Maybe just me.