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Samuels and McKnight impress

21 May 2012

At the Samsung Diamond League in Shanghai Dani Samuels (NSW) equaled her season’s best of 62.34m to finish third in the women’s discus while in the 1500m Kaila McKnight (Vic) came sixth and set a new personal best time of 4:05.61.

Samuels opened with a throw of 53.84m and went on to improve steadily over the next two rounds, first with 59.52m and then 60.98m. Her fourth attempt was a no-throw, but Samuels then equaled the distance which saw her claim a seventh consecutive national title last month in Melbourne. Reigning Olympic champion Stephanie Brown Trafton (USA), who competed on the 2012 Qantas Australian Athletics Tour, finished second with a best of 64.20m, which she recorded in the final round. In Dani's latest My Journey To London diary entry she writes about how she is training harder than ever before>>>

Meanwhile Sandra Perkovic (CRO) claimed maximum diamond race points when she became the third athlete in the world to break the 68m mark this season. Perkovic’s 68.24m on her last attempt was both a new meet record and national record.

On the track McKnight went one better than the season’s best she set in Daegu on Wednesday, when she clocked an impressive personal best of 4:05.61 in the 1500m. The 26-year-old Olympic nominee sat with the lead pack throughout and was rewarded for her effort of keeping with the pace to record a quick time.

Genzebe Dibaba (ETH) won in 3:57.77 which was not only a new world lead, meet record and national record but more than two seconds faster than any female over the distance in 2011.

Fellow Flame athlete Jeff Riseley (Vic) also featured on the track in his Olympic nominated event, the 800m. The race saw pacemaker Matthew Scherer (USA) through the bell in 50 seconds and Leonard Kosencha (KEN) crossed the line first in 1:46.06. Meanwhile Riseley came home strong in 1:46.79 to take fifth place.

Making his Diamond League debut, Henry Frayne (Qld) opened the triple jump with 16.00m (-0.6 m/s) before he went on to foul in the next two rounds. However an improvement to 16.40m (+0.2m/s) moved him to fourth in round four. It was a position he maintained through to the end of competition, but bettered his mark to 16.67m (-0.7m/s).

Reigning world champion Will Claye (USA) set a season’s best of 17.12m (+1.5m/s) in the third round, but could not surpass 2009 world champion Phillips Idowu (GBR) whose second round effort of 17.24m (+0.7m/s) was a new meet record and enough to claim maximum points.

Frayne said: “I wasn’t overly pleased with my performance. I would liked to have got a bit more distance but I placed where I thought I would, just behind Idowu and Claye.

“The conditions were pretty tough, there was a lot of water on the track. The wind wasn’t too bad, but there was just so much rain.

“I knew it would take a round or two to get my rhythm back as I hadn’t had that much jump preparation leading into the competition. I had a couple of fouls, which were quite good jumps, around the 16.70m and 16.80m mark, which I would have been happy with.

“My next triple jump competition in the Diamond League will be in Paris and I’m sure I’ll have my rhythm by then.”

Steve Hooker (WA) entered the pole vault competition at 5.30m but was unable to record a height and bowed out. And the wet conditions clearly took a toll across the field as only four cleared 5.55m, which was enough to give Malte Mohr (GER) and Brad Walker (USA) third and fourth respectively.

China’s Yansheng Yang won with a season’s best of 5.65, which he cleared at his first attempt while Bjorn Otto (GER) came second on countback.

Athletics Australia

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