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Tallent, Mickle, Wruck shine around the world

3 June 2013

ATHLETICS: Olympians Jared Tallent, Kim Mickle and Julian Wruck have had impressive performances around the world over the weekend to rank them among the 2013 world's best in race walking, javelin and discus respectively.

Tallent wins in Spain, tops Walking Challenge table

Australian Jared Tallent has continued his impressive buildup to August's world athletics championships with victory at the IAAF Race Walking Challenge event in Spain.

Tallent, a three-time Olympic medallist, won the 20km race in La Coruna in a time of one hour 21 minutes and 21 seconds.

It was Tallent's first victory on the world circuit in five years and boded well for his world championships campaign, where he will be among the gold-medal favourites in the 50km event.

The 28-year-old made the decisive move at the 15km on Saturday, splitting the field.

Jaio Vieira of Portugal was second in 1:21:45 and Luis Lopez of Colombia was third, six seconds further back.

Fellow Australian Dane Bird-Smith was an impressive fourth in a personal best of 1:22:03.

Tallent is now in top spot on the overall Walking Challenge table with two events remaining.

"I'm so thrilled to be back on top of the podium. All the hard work we put in the last month in St Moritz has really paid off," Tallent said.

"To race so well over the shorter 20km distance gives me huge confidence that my world championship aspirations are on track."

Second place in Eugene delivers exceptional Diamond Race standing for Mickle

A 63.80m throw has seen IAAF World Championships bound Kim Mickle of Western Australia continue her assault on the Diamond Race for the women’s javelin at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.
 
Second overall behind current world leader Christina Obergfoll (GER, first, 67.70m), Mickle’s impressive mark delivers a second consecutive podium finish after she hurled a season best 63.93m at Round 3 of IAAF Diamond League in New York last weekend.
 
“It's a great start to the international season. My goal will always be to throw a personal best and improve myself but to come away with three Diamond Race points from two meets is a good opener,” Mickle said.
 
“All the girls out there today were saying ‘wow, you are in second’ but to me that meant nothing. I was just happy to see consistent good throwing because being able to do that all year round will be better when I get to Moscow than lots of series that have a one hit wonder big mark.
 
“Today was by the best competition I have had in terms of consistency. My manager has told me that throwing this way puts me in a good position for entry to strong competitions before World Championships which is great and I am determined to keep on improving across the year”
 
Mickle once again enjoyed a consistent series that included only one foul, with the eight-time national champion also throwing 58.85m, 61.12m, 62.71m, 63.54m and her best mark of 63.80m. Her three best throws were beyond the IAAF World Championships A-Qualifying mark of 62.00m.
 
Highlighting her notable form of late, Mickle’s results from the two IAAF Diamond League events in America this past fortnight rank as her second and fourth best ever. Additionally, she earned herself automatic selection to the Australian Flame team in April thanks to winning the Australian title with an A-Qualifying mark of 62.26m just weeks after a 62.53m hurl at the Sydney Track Classic.
 
“The conditions were trickier than it probably looked. We had a big head wind and if you missed the throw it would go nowhere and you can see that in some of the results for the other girls,” Mickle added
 
“I have been working very hard with my coach Grant (Ward) on hitting a low point of release to ensure far throws all the time. Today is the first time I have been able to execute it across the every round. It wasn’t as good as I want it to be later in the year but with some more work at home it will keep getting better."
 
Mickle now has three points for second overall in the Diamond Race for the women’s javelin. She will return to her base in Perth in the coming days, before building towards Moscow with likely competition at IAAF Diamond League events in Paris and London.
 
Mitchell Watt (Qld) joined Mickle at Hayward Field’s most prestigious event, but he was unable to record a legal jump. Fouling on three occasions, the Olympic silver medallist soared to an impressive distance on two occasions but strong tail winds prevented him from perfecting his run up.
 
Aleksandr Menkov (RUS) won the event with a world leading mark of 8.39m (w: +1.7) to now sit atop the Diamond Race leaderboard for the men’s long jump on six points.
 
Watt will now return to his training base in Brisbane, before he begins his European campaign alongside Dani Samuels (NSW, discus throw) and Alana Boyd (Qld, pole vault) at the IAAF Diamond League event in Birmingham.

Wruck in outstanding form for UCLA

A 68.16m throw in Los Angeles all bodes well for national discus champion Julian Wruck of Queensland two months out from the World Championships in Moscow. 

Just four centimetres shy of the new national record of 68.20m set by Benn Harradine (Qld) a fortnight ago, the performance formed part of an astounding six-throw series at Claremont College that included a further three throws beyond 67 metres and a final attempt of 69.23m that was disallowed after a foot foul. 

As an event sanctioned by USA Track and Field as well as UCLA, the performance will count as the new UCLA record. It is a bigger mark than the NCAA All-Time Record set by Hannes Hopley (67.66m) in 2004, but the small size of the competition will likely prevent it from being ratified as the new mark to beat by the NCAA. 

Wruck (68.14m) and Harradine (68.20m) now sit 4th and 2nd respectively on the 2013 Top-List, with the Australian Flame duo joined in the top five by Olympic champion Robert Harting (GER, WL, 69.75m), 2010 European champion Poitr Malachowski (POL, 3rd, 68.19m) and Olympic finalist Martin Weirig (GER, 5th, 66.50m). 

“There isn’t a rivalry between Benn and I, but it is great to have somebody else in Australia throwing well because it gives you someone to challenge you at home. He has made a World Championships final before and from my perspective I want to do that with him,” Wruck added.

 “I haven’t been happy with my two performances at major championships in the past with a disappointing result at the Commonwealth Games and in London last year. I am just thrilled to be finishing my season here at college healthy, coming home to Australia to keep preparing and then going to Moscow in as strong a form as possible.”

AAP & Athletics Australia