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Rowe becomes equal fastest Australian ever

21 July 2014

ATHLETICS: Victorian middle-distance runner Alex Rowe has equalled the Australian men’s 800m national record at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco, matching the time of 1:44.40 set by Ralph Doubell when he won the gold medal at the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games.

It had been 45 years and 276 days since Doubell’s run on 15 October 1968 when Rowe stepped out onto the Stade Louis II track in Monaco (MON). 

Despite trailing the field early, Rowe stormed home to equal Doubell’s long-standing record and finish in seventh place in a loaded field that saw world record holder David Rudisha (KEN) relegated to fifth position.  The race was won by Nijel Amos (BOT) in a world leading time for 2014 of 1:42.45, as five men ran under 1:43 pace.

Rowe said he expected the tempo to be fast and had to hold himself back so he could pace himself towards the record.

“I knew that everyone else would go out really quickly, so when they went out I knew that I’d go out the back but I was content with that as the pace was so fast, I just knew to be patient and not let the occasion overwhelm me,” Rowe said. 

“The whole race I was just saying ‘hold back, hold back, hold back’ and it was only the last 200 meters that I really let my inhibitions go and really had a crack at putting everything out on the track that I could.”

He agreed that his performance in Monaco would give him a huge confidence boost ahead of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

“It certainly does. I’ve had a fantastic couple of weeks and even though this is a fantastic performance and I’m very proud, it’s not the end goal.  The goal the whole way through the season has been the Commonwealth Games and that’s going to be my peak. Hopefully if the pace is right I can improve a little bit more,” Rowe said.

Rowe was one of four Australians competing in Monaco, with women’s javelin thrower Kim Mickle (WA) taking out third place with a distance of 62.94m.

Mickle opened the competition with a foul before reaching 59.96m with her second attempt to move into third.  She also fouled her third attempt before breaking the 60-metre mark with her fourth effort of 60.19m. 

In round five she improved further with her best throw of the competition, launching the spear 62.94m.  She couldn’t press her claim further with her final round attempt reaching 59.93m but still managed to finish on the podium at a Diamond League meet once again by taking third place.  The competition was won by Barbora Špotáková (CZE) with her second round throw of 66.96m.

In the women’s pole vault Alana Boyd (Qld) finished in sixth place after a clutch third-attempt clearance of 4.55m.  Boyd passed the opening height of 4.20m before clearing 4.40m on her second try.  She needed all three attempts to get over 4.55m before having three unsuccessful tries at 4.65m.  Fabiana Murer (BRA)  took out the competition with a clearance at 4.76m

In the men’s discus, Benn Harradine (Qld) finished in eighth place with a throw of 61.25m.  The indigenous thrower reached 59.75m in round one before fouling his second attempt.  He then produced his best throw of the competition series before two more fouls in rounds four and six and a fifth round hurl of 60.89m.

Athletics Australia