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Golden Starc secures Diamond League victory

2 September 2018

ATHLETICS: Rio 2016 Olympian Brandon Starc has won $50,000 USD ($69,492 AUD) by winning the IAAF Diamond League Final in Brussels on Saturday.

The 24-year-old, cleared 2.33m on his second attempt which was enough to score him the Diamond League Trophy and big cash bonus. He is only the fourth Australian to win a Diamond League Trophy. With Mitchell Watt (2011), Fabrice Lapierre (2016) and Sally Pearson (2017) the other Australians to achieve the honour since the Diamond League Series began in 2010.

This fantastic performance continues his outstanding European season where the Sydney-sider equalled the Australian Record of 2.36m last weekend in Germany.

“I jumped 2.36 a few days ago, so I semi expected the win,” an elated Starc said. “But it was really tough out there and I fought hard and I'm so happy to come out on top and come away with it.”

The 2018 Commonwealth Games Champion will finish off his best-ever international season by competing in the Asia/Pacific Team at the Continental Cup in Ostrava next weekend (September 8,9).

“I’m going to keep on this form and capitalise on that and hopefully come out with another victory.”

On the opening night of the Dialond League Finals, long jumper Henry Frayne was again battling with South African duo Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai, the same pair he met five months earlier at GC2018.

World champion Manyonga (8.36m) came out on top again, with Samaai (8.32m) almost causing an upset and leaping over Frayne, with the Australian Commonwealth Games silver medallist holding on for third. His fourth round attempt of 8.16m extended his 8m+ jump streak to 10 competitions, beginning with the qualifying round at the Commonwealth Games where he jumped his 8.34m personal best. The 28-year-old Queenslander bronze medallist earnt a $10,000 USD cheque for his efforts.

Frayne will round out his season, like the rest of the Australians, at the Continental Cup in the Czech Republic, next weekend.

In other Diamond League Finals results for the Aussie, Stewart McSweyn became the second fastest Aussie over 5000m. The Tasmanian obliterated his old personal best by 14 seconds with his 13:05.23. He moves past the likes of Ben St Lawrence and Collis Birmingham to sit second behind Craig Mottram (12:55.76) on the Australian 5000m all-time list.

Ethiopian Samuel Barega finished in 12:43.02, with the 18-year-old setting a new world junior record and be number four on the all-time list. No other 5000m race has ever produced more than one time under 12:47, and yet the 2018 finale had three. The first eight athletes dipping under the magic barrier.

“It’s crazy to be involved in it. To be in a race with a guy going 12:43 is unreal,” but there was more drama to come for McSweyn.

“As I came to the line I tripped up and landed on my shoulder, so my shoulder was popped out, and I had to go to the medical room and get it put back, which was pretty painful but I’ve got through it at least now, so it’s feeling a bit better.”

Olympian Brooke Stratton finished fifth in the women's long jump with a best jump of 6.57m, and Olympian Ryan Gregson placed 10th in the 1500m in 3:39.04. 

Kurtis Marschall, still riding the high from his six-centimetre personal best in Zurich Main Station two days ago, was struck down by an unfortunate mishap on his very first attempt in Brussels. Fully committing to the jump, he was unaware of his sideways trajectory, and, as he pulled out of the attempt, he found himself above the ground, but not over the safety of the mats.

Coming down from that height with nothing but your feet and the ground to soften the landing, he fell to the ground and was immediately surrounded by his fellow competitors. Moments passed and later Marschall was taken from the field in a wheelchair. It has since been reported Marschall has bruised heels, but fortunately nothing more serious.

Three other Australians featured in non-Diamond League events, as they too prepare for the Continental Cup.

Nicola McDermott was second in the high jump event with a clearance of 1.87m. It has been a breakthrough season for the 21-year-old, highlighted by her Commonwealth Games bronze medal in April with a personal best of 1.91m.

Steven Solomon was in a strong position for the win at the top of the final straight in the non-Diamond League 400m but faded to finish fourth in 46.62s. Belgian Jonathon Sacoor took the win in 45.59s.

Brittany McGowan was never quite on the pace in the women’s 800m and trailed off to finish seventh in 2:07.42. The run was well down on her personal best (2:00.24) and not indicative of her recent form, where she broke the Australian 1000m record a few weeks ago in Birmingham.

Athletics Australia/olympics.com.au

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