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Ross and Thomas impress as Watt pipped again by Brit

8 April 2013

ATHLETICS: Australian favourite Mitchell Watt (QLD) has been out-jumped by Greg Rutherford (GBR) in a repeat of the London Olympic final, at the Qantas Melbourne World Challenge. Josh ‘the Boss’ Ross (Vic) stormed home to a season best in the men’s 100m and Tristan Thomas (Tas) recorded his first IAAF World Championships B-Qualifier in the men’s 400m hurdles at Lakeside Stadium. 

Competing against Olympic silver medallist Mitchell Watt (Qld, second, 8.01m) and Fabrice Lapierre (NSW, third, 7.99m), Rutherford’s triumph in the men’s long jump came with his fourth round jump of 8.10m (w: +0.6). Recording a second consecutive win in Australia for the Olympic gold medallist, Rutherford opened his account with an out of sorts 6.19m, before 8.09m in round two, a foul, his winning leap, 7.81m and a pass to close. 

The men’s 100m didn’t disappoint. Featuring sub-10 sprinter Wallace Spearmon (USA, fourth, 10.29), the fastest man in Australia this year Tim Leathart (NSW, sixth, 10.36) and Stawell Gift runner-up Mitchell Williams-Swain (Qld, second, 10.25), the event was exceptionally fast out of the blocks with Josh ‘the Boss’ Ross dipping at the perfect time to take line honours in a season best 10.25 (w: +1.6) in a photo finish. 

It was a case of second event lucky for Ross after he crossed third in the men’s 200m behind the winner Spearmon, who clocked 20.79 (w: -1.3), and IAAF World Junior Championships silver medallist Nicholas Hough (NSW, second, 20.96). 

“I stayed so relaxed there, I think that’s what probably got me there in the end. I admit that I am lagging behind at the start and that first 30 metres is so important so if I get that right I am very confident that the A-Qualifier is there,” Ross said. 

“The confidence is there, it is always nice to beat the Americans, especially when they are of the calibre of Wallace. It was a great result after a disappointing run from my perspective in the 200m. This is certainly my preferred event and where my intentions lie for Moscow.” 

Also delivering on track was Tristan Thomas (Tas) in the 400m hurdles, with the Olympic semi-finalist clocking 49.60 to place second behind American Justin Gaymon (49.34) and record his first IAAF World Championship B-Qualifier. Strong over the last hurdle and driving to the line, Thomas’ run means that victory at the Qantas Australian Athletics Championships next weekend will secure his spot on the Australian Flame team for the IAAF World Championships.

“I’m really happy. It has been a tough season after opening at 51.90. The times haven’t looked great but I have known that it has been there based on my training,” Thomas said. 

“All I want to do now is run a PB. If I can get back to 48 second times after 18months with Achilles injuries I will be so proud of myself. That’s my aim this year, but Nationals next weekend can book me a spot on the plane and that would be great too.”

Anneliese Rubie (NSW) set a third personal best this year for the 400m flat with her 52.61 securing the win in Melbourne. Rubie’s performance is just 0.3 seconds away from the IAAF World Championships Qualifier with a run on her home track at the Qantas Australian Athletics Championships providing a fantastic opportunity for her to earn Australian Flame selection.

In the 5000m, IAAF World Cross Country Champion Japhet Korir (KEN) looked relaxed throughout to run away from the lead pack in the closing three laps and win in 13:31.94. Showing no signs of fatigue after his stunning victory in Bydgoszcz (POL) two weeks ago, the quietly spoken Korir was too good for Liam Adams (Vic, second, 13:35.60) despite his gutsy closing few laps where he challenged the Kenyan.

Commonwealth Games medallist Kerrie Perkins (ACT) won the women’s long jump with a leap of 6.53m (w: -0.9), while Australian Flame Alwyn Jones (Vic) won the men’s triple jump. Jones’ performance of 16.81m (w: +1.5) is just two centimetres shy of the personal best leap he soared to at the 2009 Australian Athletics Championships to earn Australian Flame selection for the Berlin-hosted IAAF World Championships.  It shows impressive form ahead of the Qantas Australian Athletics Championships next weekend, where he will be chasing the 16.85m IAAF World Championships B-Qualifier and national crown to earn automatic selection.  

In other highlights:

  • Toea Wisil (PNG) took line honours in the women’s 100m in 11.41 (w: -0.7). Her time improves her personal best by 0.08 and missed the national record of Papua New Guinea by just 0.02 seconds.
  • Two-time Olympian Youcef Abdi (NSW), who is ranked second on the Australian All-Time List, held off a challenge from James Nipperess (NSW, second, 8:36.71) to win in 8:33.74 in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase.
  • Calvin Smith Jr. (USA), who is the son of former 100m world record holder Calvin Smith, won the men’s 400m in 46.25 from Craig Burns (Qld, second, 46.72) and Alex Beck (Qld, third, 46.79).
  • Alexander Rowe (Vic) clocked a season best of 1:47.87 to cross first in the men’s 800m, with Brad Mathas (NZL) the best of the international starters in 8th (2:00.51).
  • Soaring to a third IAAF World Championships B-Qualifier this season, Australian pole vault record holder Alana Boyd (Qld) was victorious in the women’s pole vault with a 4.50m leap. American indoor championship medallist Mary Saxer (USA) was second with 4.40m).
  • Australian javelin record holder Jarrod Bannister (Qld) made his first appearance of the season. His best mark of 79.99m was enough for third. Stuart Farquahar (NZL) won the event with a 81.07m throw, while Hamish Peacock improved the Tasmanian state record with his 79.80m hurl for fourth. 

The Qantas Melbourne World Challenge closes the Qantas Australian Athletics Tour, with the attention domestically now turning to the Qantas Australian Athletics Championships in Sydney (NSW) next weekend.

To download results from the Qantas Melbourne World Challenge, please click here. 

For more information on the Qantas Australian Athletics Championships, please follow this link.Athletics Australia

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