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Samuels second in prestigious Paris Diamond League

7 July 2014

Australian discus thrower Dani Samuels has thrown over 67 metres for the third time this year to finish second at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday night with a distance of 67.40m. 

Samuels, who hails from New South Wales, led throughout the competition before a final round throw of 68.48m from current world number one Sandra Perkovic of Croatia snatched the win at the death knell.

Samuels has been enjoying a banner season thus far in 2013/14 and has recorded a new personal best on three occasions since April this year.  She threw her current PB of 67.99m in Germany in May and is currently ranked second in the world and first in the Commonwealth.  

The former World Champion and 2006 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist opened the competition in Paris with a throw of 63.77m to take the early lead.  Samuels improved on that in the second round with a hurl of 66.74m which was a new meet record.  She reached 65.38m in round three, 64.43m in round four and fouled her fifth effort to lead the competition going into the final round.  

Perkovic, who is undefeated this season and holds the world lead with 70.52m, then unleashed her winning throw with her final round effort.  Samuels responded, hurling the platter 67.40m with her final attempt but it wasn’t quite enough for the win.  The performance does however augur well for her chances of winning gold in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games, as Samuels has thrown more than six metres further than her nearest Commonwealth rival.

Queensland’s reigning Olympic 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson also competed at the Paris Diamond League meet overnight.  Pearson lined up in a stacked field that included Bejing Olympic gold medallist and London 2012 runner-up Dawn Harper-Nelson of the US, fellow American and two-time World Indoor champion Lolo Jones as well as 2013 World Championship bronze medallist Tiffany Porter of Great Britain.

Racing with heavy strapping on her left thigh, Pearson ran 12.89 (wind 0.0) to finish fifth behind Harper-Nelson’s new world leading time of 12.44.  Pearson did however show improvement on her 13.19 (wind -1.0) run in Nivelles, Belgium a week ago as she looks to overcome the hamstring issue which forced her to withdraw from the Diamond League meets in Rome and New York earlier this season.  

Earlier in Paris, Victorian wheelchair athlete Richard Colman recorded a time of 3:21.91 and came seventh in the men’s 1500m wheelchair event.

Meanwhile, at the Bauhaus Gala meet in Mannheim, Germany Alana Boyd of Queensland cleared a new season’s best of 4.65m to win the competition.  Boyd opened the competition at 4.25m and cleared it at her first attempt.  She was also perfect at 4.35m, 4.50m and the winning height of 4.65m to clinch the competition.  She had three attempts at 4.72m, which is just 4cm shy of her Australian record height of 4.76m, but could not clear it.

In the same competition in Germany, Liz Parnov of WA came fourth with a height of 4.10m while her sister Vicky Parnov came seventh with a clearance at 3.95m.

A number of Australians were also in action overnight at the Memorial Leon Buyle meet in Oordegem, Belgium as they prepared for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.  Victorian middle distance runner Alex Rowe was the standout performer, winning the men’s 800m race in a new personal best time of 1:44.74.  That makes him one of only four Australians ever to have run sub-1:45 and moves him into third place on the Australian all-time list behind only Ralph Doubell and Jeff Riseley.

ACT sprinter Melissa Breen took out the women’s 100m race in Belgium in a time of 11.33 (+1.2m), while Jarrod Geddes of NSW placed third in the men’s short sprint in 10.28 (+2.2m) before doubling up to run second in the 200m in 20.68 (0.0m).

New South Wales sprinter Ella Nelson ran second in the women’s 200m in 23.60 (+0.7) second, whilst in the 400m Anneliese Rubie (NSW) ran second in 53.22 and Jess Gulli (Vic) was fourth in 54.17.  Queenslander Alex Beck took out the men’s 400m in 46.46, while Dylan Grant (Qld) came third in 47.15.

It was an Australian double in the 400m hurdles with Ian Dewhurst (NSW) taking out the men’s event in 50.58 and Lauren Wells (ACT) winning the women’s in 55.69. Lyndsay Pekin (WA) also ran in the women’s race and clocked  57.40. West Australian 100m hurdler Shannon McCann also raced in Belgium, coming second in 13.54 (+1.5m).

Tasmanian thrower Hamish Peacock won the men’s javelin with a throw of 80.92m.  Decathlete Jake Stein (NSW) also competed in the men’s javelin and threw 63.02m to come fourth.  Stein took the opportunity to compete in the men’s discus as well and threw 49.97m to finish third.  Fellow Glasgow-bound multi-eventer Steve Cain of Victoria finished behind Stein in the discus, throwing 41.30m and also competed in the long jump (6.47m – seventh) and shot put (13.40m – fifth).

Victorian Kim Mulhall came second in Oordegem in the women’s shot put with a distance of 14.36m while Jessica Penney (ACT) was third in the women’s long jump with a leap of 6.20m (+0.4).

Athletics Australia

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