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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Watt, Pearson & Relay team in Sydney

Watt, Pearson & Relay team in Sydney

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1Watt, Pearson & Relay team in Sydney Empty Watt, Pearson & Relay team in Sydney on Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:51 am


Jumping Jai's mark in danger
By Nicole Jeffery
The Australian
March 21, 2011

JAI Taurima's national long jump record is officially on notice after Mitchell Watt recorded the biggest legal jump in Australia since the Sydney Olympics, at the Sydney Track Classic on Saturday night.

In his comeback season after a serious groin injury ruled him out last year, Watt made the best of difficult wet conditions to produce a huge leap of 8.38m, just 11 centimetres short of Olympic silver medallist Taurima's benchmark (8.49cm).

Only three men in the world, including Commonwealth Games gold medallist Fabrice Lapierre (8.40m), have jumped further than Watt in the past year.

He and Lapierre are now headed for a showdown at next week's Australian Athletics Tour final in Perth, which traditionally offers favourable conditions for jumpers and sprinters.

It is the site where Lapierre leaped a massive 8.78m (wind-assisted) at last year's national championships.

Former Olympic long jumper and commentator David Culbert believes it is "just a matter of time for both of them" to overtake Taurima.

Watt is now eagerly anticipating his chance to soar in Perth, and is giving himself two opportunities. He and coach Gary Bourne will go west this week to contest the WA championships on Saturday, then back up for the tour final.

"In all honesty, I was more disappointed to miss Perth last year than the Commonwealth Games," Watt said. "My coach thought I would have broken the Australian record if I had been in Perth."

Watt had trouble on the runway throughout the Sydney event, fouling his first three jumps, and his fifth, and said he was still "rusty" from his long lay-off.

Bourne predicted Watt would go "a fair bit further yet this season" once he sorted out his runway issues.

"He looks like he will really bust something out," Bourne said.

"The stage is set for something in that (8.49m) realm."

The Sydney jump was 1cm further than the 8.37m he cleared for the bronze at the 2009 world titles and sets him up for a charge at the world crown this year.

Sprint hurdler Sally Pearson's flying 100m was another high point of the Sydney meet, as she registered the fastest time by an Australian women on home soil in 13 years, 11.21sec.

National record-holder Melinda Gainsford-Taylor ran the same time in March 1998 in Brisbane.

Pearson is undefeated in the flat sprints this season but had been frustrated by her inability to translate great training form into a fast competition time.

She found the right inspiration when the Australian 4x100m relay team she leads fell agonisingly short (0.02sec) of the qualifying time (44sec) for the world titles.

Anchor runner Melissa Breen threw the baton down the track in disgust when she saw the time, and Pearson was similarly furious at the near-miss. But she channelled her aggression when she backed up for the 100m sprint an hour later. "I was so ready for the 100," she said.

Commonwealth Games javelin silver medallist Kimberly Mickle was the other world championships qualifier in Sydney, launching the spear 63.82m, a personal best which lifts her into the world's top 10 in the past year.

Interesting that the relay time required now for a World Champs qualifier is 'only' 44.00s. Two years ago the girls had to run 43.90 and fell short with a 43.95 in Osaka. This team (with Pearson in 11.2 shape) should smash 44.00 yet have run 44.05 and 44.02 at their two tries so far. They should be running mid 43's. Something's not working?

2Watt, Pearson & Relay team in Sydney Empty Re: Watt, Pearson & Relay team in Sydney on Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:54 am



Renshaw continues his learning course
By James Dampney
Sydney Morning Herald
March 20, 2011

Australia's Lachlan Renshaw continued his progression as an 800m runner after another stoush with world record-holder David Rudisha of Kenya in Sydney on Saturday night.

Rudisha, the reigning male athlete of the year, won the event in a time of 1:44.81 at the Sydney Track Classic, with Renshaw impressing in second in 1:46.06.

It was slower than the personal best 1:45.66 Renshaw ran in Melbourne meet two weeks ago, but conditions were far from ideal after heavy rain in Sydney.

Advertisement: Story continues below The Australian passed Olympic 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop on the home straight, while he also finished more than half a second closer to Rudisha than he did a fortnight ago.

"It was great coming off Melbourne two weeks ago, which was a bit of a confidence-booster," he said.

"My plan was to sit on Kiprop and I knew it would be fast.

"The home straight was okay and the back straight was pretty wet.

"I was a lot closer to Rudisha, one second behind him, so I'm pretty happy with that.

"And I'll remember going past Kiprop on the back straight. It's a good scalp to get."

Renshaw will now head to Perth, where he will continue pursuing the A-qualifying time of 1:45.40 for August's world championships.

Rudisha will head back to Kenya before embarking on a program he hopes will end with world championship gold in Daegu, South Korea.

The superstar used Australia as part of his preparation last year before a sensational season that included breaking the long-standing 800m world record twice.

"I was happy, to run 1:44 on a wet track was good, but if the track was not wet I think I could've done better than that," he said.

"I feel very strong, I'm in good shape.

"I competed here last year and then after here I did very well, so I was happy to come back.

"My aim this year is to win the world championship title."

Another athlete gearing up for Daegu is Australia's Sally Pearson, who had a mixed night in Sydney.

Pearson was part of the 4x100m relay team that missed an A-qualifying time by just two-hundredths of a second, but she bounced back to run a meet record 11.21 seconds in the individual 100m before also taking out the 200m.

"We're so disappointed. We worked so hard over the last 10 days and to miss it by that much is heartbreaking," she said of the relay.

"But we weren't good enough on the night, that's sport, not everyone is good enough.

"I ran 11.2 in my hundred so conditions weren't that bad even with a wet track, so we can do it, we just have to put it together on the night."

They will have another chance to set the qualifying mark at a meet in Japan in May.

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