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Jandakot delivers world champs qualifiers and several PB's

19 March 2019

ATHLETICS: Athletes responded to Perth's perfect conditions at the Jandakot Airport Track Classic with World Championships qualifiers and numerous personal bests.

From start to finish there was action as the program was topped and tailed with World Championships marks from Naa Anang, Brooke Stratton, Sarah Edmiston and Luke Mathews. Teen sensation Sasha Zhoya cleared a national age record, while Darcy Roper nailed another enormous long jump.

A high quality field was assembled in the men's 800m with three of the top-8 in Australian history on the start line. 

In his first 800m since the Commonwealth Games final, Luke Mathews was not feeling confident.

“Scary and daunting,” was his description, but in the end he was a very impressive winner in a World Championships qualifier of 1:45.51 – the second fastest time of his career.

It was a late turn of speed that won it for Mathews.

“It was not a tactic to win it late, it was how I had to run, because those boys are so quick over the first 400. I knew if I was going to lead, it was probably only going to come until the last 100 and it ended up coming in the last 50."

Eventually it was the three Commonwealth Games teammates filling the podium with Joseph Deng second (1:45.98) and Joshua Ralph third (1:45.99).

Training partners under coach Ben Liddy were next both with PBs - Jye Perrott (fourth, 1:46.93) and Mason Cohen (fifth, 1:47.04).

The competition was set alight early in the women’s long jump as Commonwealth Games teammates Naa Anang and Brooke Stratton continued their season-long battle.

Anang, with added confidence from a significant 100m PB of 11.43 last weekend, struck first with a PB of 6.70m, only to raise that to 6.73m on her second attempt. It was a World Championships qualifier and moved her to number six in Australian history.

Stratton was not going to be left out and hit her own qualifier of 6.72 in round three, closing out the competition consistently with leaps of 6.62w, 6.71w and 6.62.

“I was really hoping to get that world qualifier in before nationals, so I have got that now,” Anang said.

"I have had a fairly good season so far with a PB on the weekend. I was in good shape and I knew I was running fast, I knew if I could get the technique somewhat right and keep that speed I could jump a qualifier.

“I’m trying to change my technique at the moment and continuing to progress with that, work on me, keep the faith, and stay level headed.”

Stratton was a little disappointed but happy to lockup the qualifier.

“It feels good and a relief to get the qualifier out of the way. Would love to have jumped a little bit further and obviously I jumped 7.05m here three years ago," she said.

"A bit disappointing not having cracked those distances, but things are progressing well and hopefully by nationals I can be jumping closer to seven metres.“

With a personal best of 8.01m this season, along with a slightly windy (2.1m/s) 8.20m already under his belt, Darcy Roper’s momentum continued in Perth in the men's long jump.

After an initial 7.88m he went 8.32 windy, 8.13m, 8.11m and 7.92m. The wind on the 8.32m jump was not strong, 2.6m/s while the 8.13m and 8.11m jumps were wind-legal and exceeded his PB. He moved up to equal 10th all-time and continues to threaten the world champs standard of 8.17m.

“It didn’t feel windy and I genuinely think it was the wind generated by me running past the wind gauge,” said Roper. But he is remaining grounded about his lofty performances.

“I just need to keep focused on what I’m doing on the runway, hitting my strides and nailing the board then those jumps will come.”

Perth, the home of elite pole vaulting in Australian put on another fine display. Declan Carruthers won with 5.51m, just 9cm short of his PB, but on the same height in second Angus Armstrong was just 1cm shy of his PB and Stephen Clough came in fourth, equalling his 5.40m PB.

But the sensation was 16-year-old Sasha Zhoya who raised his PB to 5.40m, broke the national under-18 record and just missed his third attempt at 5.56m - a world under-18 and 16-years age best.

On the track, Jack Hale trimmed his 100m PB winning in 10.20 after 994 days.

“That was good to get a PB after two and a half years,” Hale said.

“Not the cleanest of races, but came here to race and that is what I got.”

Commonwealth Games hammer throw medallist, Matt Denny also nailed a season’s best and his third consecutive 64 metre discus mark, when he spun the 2kg implement out to 64.49m, just 51cm short of the World Championships standard.

You can keep up to date with the live results HERE.

David Tarbotton
Athletics Australia

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