Aussie duo make the long leap into final
13 August 2016
ATHLETICS: Australia will have a double shot at a first Olympic men’s long jump gold medal after Henry Frayne and Fabrice Lapierre both qualified for tomorrow night’s final at the Olympic Stadium in Rio.
On a great night at the Olympic Stadium in which all three of women’s 1500m runners qualified for the semi-finals, Frayne soared past eight metres on his third attempt to qualify sixth with a leap of 8.01 metres.
Lapierre, silver-medallist at the 2015 world championships and 2016 world indoor championships, qualified eighth with a best jump of 7.96m for the 12-man final.
Australia has won four silver medals in the history of the event (Mitchell Watt at London in 2012, Jai Taurima at Sydney in 2000, Gary Honey at Los Angeles in 1984 and Theo Bruce at London in 1948) but has a great chance of improving on that mark in what will be a hotly-contested final.
The men’s long jump final at the Olympic Stadium will start at 8:53pm tomorrow, Saturday, 13 August (9:53am AEST Sunday, 14 August).
In the women’s 1500m heats, Linden Hall, Zoe Buckman and Jenny Blundell all qualified for the semi-finals. The first occasion three Australians male or female middle-distance (800m/1500m) runners had progressed that far in the same Games.
Hall became the first Australian at the Rio Games to qualify for the semi-finals on the track, showing plenty of fight over the final 150m to hold her position and finish fourth in a time of 4:11.75.
Buckman, a semi-finalist at the 2012 London Games, was just as impressive, finishing sixth in a faster third heat in a time of 4:06.93.
Blundell finished eighth in heat two but was one of the fastest performers from outside the top six across the three heats and progressed to the semi-finals in a time of 4:09.05.
The top six in each heat qualify for the semi-finals, plus the next six fastest runners.
“The plan was to sit back and see what the other girls wanted to do for the first 800m or so, because running heats like that no one really wants to do the work at the front,” Linden said.
“It was pretty argy bargy that first lap and I tried to tell myself to relax, it’s the first lap, it doesn’t mean anything as long as, just really making sure I had a clear run so I could out when it did start to move, which I think worked out pretty well.
Buckman was just as excited to be through to another Olympic semi-final.
“I had a slow start to the season and wasn’t even sure if I would make the Olympics and here I am out of the first round, so I just want to keep moving forward and do all that I can to try and get to the final,” Buckman said.
In the women’s 100m, Melissa Breen finished seventh in her heat in a time of 11.74.