Home-town heroes deliver A-Qualifiers
31 March 2014
ATHLETICS: Benn Harradine (Qld), Alana Boyd (Qld) and Sally Pearson (Qld) have entertained their home crowd by achieving Commonwealth Games A-Qualifiers at the Queensland Track Classic.
Providing the ideal penultimate hit-out before the 92nd Australian Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games Selection Trial in Melbourne next weekend, the Australian Flame trio were victorious in the men’s discus throw, women’s pole vault and women’s 100m respectively.
Launching his discus to his winning mark of 65.94m in the sixth and final round, Harradine was always the man to beat here at his training venue. Opening his account with a Commonwealth Games B-Qualifier of 63.51m, his series also included throws of 61.52m, 63.97m, 63.99m and a foul.
Harradine now looks ahead to the Australian Athletics Championships next weekend where he hopes to earn automatic nomination for selection to the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games.
“I expected to throw well here tonight being my training venue and having had a pretty good block of preparation I thought I would hit a mark pretty similar to what I did. That being said, it’s good to know that things are starting to come together and I hope to progress that through to the Commonwealth Games,” Harradine said.
“The plan is to do well at Nationals next week, and from there I will go to Europe and continue my preparations with pretty good competition around me. I think that spending time with some of the boys over there is a great environment to improve and it’s why I keep doing it. It helps me be my best.”
IAAF World Junior Championships bound Matthew Denny (Qld) threw 59.04m to place second, with his performance an Australian under 20 record with the two-kilogram implement.
Boyd’s win with a 4.50m clearance ensures her sixth Commonwealth Games A-Standard ahead of the Commonwealth Games Selection Trial next weekend.
On track to ensure automatic nomination for selection to compete at Glasgow 2014, Boyd was the last to enter competition tonight at 4.30m and she made light work of the height with a first attempt clearance. Raising the bar to the A-Standard, the national pole vault record holder took three attempts to goclear before stumbling at 4.62m.
“It is a little annoying to keep talking about 4.50 jumps but it’s another A-Qualifier and that’s a good thing. The good jumps are there, they are just a little too sporadic at the moment but I am working to improve on that and Iwill go to the Selection Trial next week determined to confirm my spot on the plane for Glasgow,” Boyd said.
The trio of Elizabeth Parnov (WA, 4.20m), Jamie Scroop (SA, 4.10m) and Emma Philippe (WA, 4.10m) all jumped the Commonwealth Games B-Standard to finish in second through fourth respectively.
“As defending champion the Commonwealth Games are a really exciting prospect. I’m going to need something bigger than tonight to win there though so between now and then it is about getting it right and performing well.”
Stopping the clock in her fifth Commonwealth Games A-Standard for the 100m, Pearson ran 11.27 (w: +1.0) to dominate the women’s short sprint and win from Toea Wisil (PNG, second, 11.58) and Michelle Cutmore (Qld, third, 11.60).
“The result was better than I thought it would be, so I am happy with that. I’ve just been holding on since the World Indoors because I did so much work to get ready for that and on the whole I felt pretty fresh which is great,” Pearson said.
“I can’t wait for the next phase now. It’s will be about hard training and strong preparation for the middle of the year and the Commonwealth Games where I am aiming to win gold again.
Also impressive in front of their home crowd were Brittany McGowan (Qld) and Linda Leverton (Qld), who achieved season defining performances to stake their claim for selection to the Australian team for Glasgow 2014.
A strong winner in the women’s 800m from national champion Kelly Hetherington (Vic, second, 2:01.53, CG-B) and IAAF World Championships finalist Zoe Buckman (Vic, third, 2:02.21), McGowan’s time of 2:01.26 is a personal best and her first Commonwealth Games B-Qualifier.
“It was amazing, I had such a good race in Adelaide earlier in the season and Ithink I have been trying a bit too hard to replicate it. Tonight though it came together and I couldn’t be happier,” McGowan said.
“The race at Nationals will be tough, but tonight shows that I need to just run my own race and not worry about what the other girls do. Everyone has been running pretty well so I’m going to have show up in my best form but I think that’s what is coming together.
Competing in the women’s triple jump, local favourite Leverton delivered a strong showing before her planned competition at next week’s Australian Athletics Championships, which double as the Commonwealth Games Selection Trial.
Soaring to 13.80m (w: +0.7) in the third round, just two centimetres shy of her personal best, the jump is her fourth B-Qualifier for Glasgow 2014 and provides her with the ideal confidence boost.
“Gary told me to go for it towards the end there and I jumped 13.80, which is just two centimetres off my lifetime best so I am pretty happy with the result,” Leverton said.
In the men’s event, multiple major championship medallist Phillips Idowu (GBR) was victorious with a best mark of 16.63m. Idowu is currently based in Brisbanewhere he is working with Gary Bourne, and he will compete at the Australian Athletics Championships in Melbourne next week.
In other results:
- Clocking a new personal best of 13.23 (w: +0.8), IAAF World Junior Championships finalist Michelle Jenneke (NSW) was victorious in the women’s 100m hurdles from Louise Wood (GBR, second, 13.44) and Abbie Taddeo (NSW, third, 13.63).
- Throwing a faultless series, three-time national champion Tim Driesen (Vic) threw 69.53m, a season best and his second Commonwealth Games B-Standard, to win the men’s hammer throw from IAAF World Junior Championships bound Matthew Denny (Qld, second, 65.49m).
- The women’s event was won by 2010 Commonwealth Games representative Gabrielle Neighbour (Vic), with a Commonwealth Games B-Qualifier of 60.67m from Lara Nielsen (Qld, second, 58.73m) and Natalie Debeljuh (Vic, third, 57.36m).
- Outstanding in the men’s 5000m walk, Moscow 2013 representative Dane Bird-Smith clocked 18:59.51 to cross a clear winner.
- 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships representative Luke Cann (Vic) threw a Commonwealth Games B-Qualifier of 77.81m to notch up yet another win in the men’s javelin as part of the National Athletics Series.
- Alexander Hartmann (Qld), who competed in the relay at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships, took out the men’s 100m and men’s 200m in times of 10.55 (w: +0.9) and 20.92 (w: +0.9) respectively.
The attention of the athletics world now turns to the 92nd Australian AthleticsChampionships and Commonwealth Games Selection Trials next weekend, with details of this four-day event available via the National Athletic Series website here.