Athletes responded to the perfect conditions at last evening’s Jandakot Airport Track Classic with world championships qualifiers, an Australian record 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 former teen sensation, Darcy Roper nailed another enormous long jump.
A high qualify field was assembled 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 – second fastest 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. So, 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.
“Goal was to keep my confidence up the whole way and coming down the home straight hopefully have enough to pass the boys as I knew they would go out real quick.”
Eventually it was the three Commonwealth Games team mates 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).
Women Long Jump
The competition was set alight early with the women’s long jump as Commonwealth Games team mates Naa Anang and Brooke Stratton continuing 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 world champs 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 100m PB (11.43) on the weekend. So, 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, and work on me, and 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. 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.“
Men long jump
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. 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.”
Men pole vault.
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. Stephen Clough in fourth, equalled 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.
“Amazing comp, conditions were sic, crowd was awesome and helped me get over 40. Which was Paul Burgess’ record - one of our coaches,” said Zhoya.
After 994 days, Jack Hale has trimmed his 100m PB winning in 10.20.
“That was good to get a PB after two and a half years,” said Hale. “Not the cleanest of races but came here to race and that is what I got.”
It took two starts to get the race going.
“Doran got a big jump on me so that would have been interesting,” said Hale about the first start that was called back.
After his early sensational years, Hale has worked hard to build and noted the key.
“Layers and layers and work over the last two years and now it is really starting to show. last year I just rolled into it and now it is time to really start running fast.”
Other highlights included:
• Commonwealth Games hammer throw medallists, Matt Denny 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. Local athlete, Sarah Edmiston did surpass the F44 Para-Athletics World Championships A standard of 35.21m with a throw of 36.32m, while in the men’s Daniel Kirk just missed the F44 Para-Athletics World Championships B standard with a throw of 50.03m
• Rohan Browning defeated a strong 200m field in 20.77, ahead of Jake Doran (21.09) and Alex Hartmann (21.11). Browning maintained his sub-21 seconds 200m career in every race dating back to December 2016 when he was 18.
• It was a return to competition for Commonwealth Games pole vault medallist Nina Kennedy with a height of 3.96m off a short run up. The event was won by World U20 Championships representative and still junior athlete in 2019, Lauren Hyde-Cooling, with a PB 4.12m.
• Georgia Griffith confirmed her season is back on track with her second consecutive Track Classic win, with a smooth 800m victory in 2:03.02 ahead of yet another PB for Morgan Mitchell clocking 2:03.86.
• Celebrating his late selection to the Australian team for the world cross country championships, Matt Ramsden claimed a comfortable win in the Herb Elliott mile recording 4:07.51.
• In the men’s 110m hurdles, Nick Andrews was just outside his PB clocking 13.82, while in the women’s 100m hurdles Commonwealth Games representative and local, Brianna Beahan was untroubled winning in 13.42.
• Recent high jump world championships qualifier, Nicola McDermott had to settle for a winning clearance of 1.84m.
• Dual Commonwealth Games medallists Hamish Peacock maintained his 75-76m season winning with a throw of 75.95m.
Live results: http://results.athletics.org.au/results/2019/Perth/
David Tarbotton for Athletics Australia