Aussie jumps 8.43 legal


Watt a jump by Mitchell - 8.43m in Rethymno

Australian long jump sensation Mitchell Watt has elevated himself to No. 2 on the Australian all-time list with a massive 8.43m jump in Rethymno, Greece overnight.

Continuing the exciting form of Australia’s world championships-bound long jump duo, Watt along with Fabrice Lapierre are demonstrating ominous form just 25 days out from the championships in Berlin.

After opening with a leap of 8.24m (+1.4), Watt landed his career best effort on his fourth attempt, claiming victory by a massive 30 centimetres, leaving Saudi Arabian Hussein Al-Sabee (8.13m) and American Brian Johnson (8.04m) in his wake.

Assisted by a legal +2.0 tailwind, the 21-year-old made a nine centimetre improvement on his previous personal best of 8.34m set in Madrid earlier this month.

It was the fifth best performance in the world this year, Watt now sitting just behind a world-class stable of long jumping elite including 2004 Olympic champion Dwight Phillips (8.74m – Eugene), 2008 Olympic champion Irving Saladino (8.63m – Eugene), African record holder Godfrey Mokoena (8.50m – Madrid) and Germany’s Sebastian Bayer (8.49m – Ulm).

Watt has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks this year, his performances even more impressive given he only returned to competitive athletics less than two years ago.

The Queenslander first raised the attention of the athletics community with an 8.04m jump on the Gold Coast in January, and since then his progression has been remarkable (see below table).

In a matter of six months, Watt has made a substantial 39-centimetre improvement and is now a strong contender to make the final at next month’s world championships.

An international unknown until this month, Watt made his European debut only three weeks ago but is quickly forging a reputation on the competitive European circuit for being a consistent big-time performer.

In his four meets in Europe, his shortest leap came in Rome (8.12m) and he has not finished outside the top five in each of his four starts.

The future of Australian stocks in the event is looking very bright, with Sydney long jumper Fabrice Lapierre also proving he can match it with the world’s best.

Leaping over 8.20m on four occasions this year, Lapierre produced a monster wind-assisted 8.57m jump in Madrid earlier this month, defeating reigning Olympic champion Irving Saladino in the process.

The chase is on for Jai Taurima’s Australian record of 8.49m from the Sydney Olympic Games.

As the countdown to Berlin continues, many of Australia’s top athletes will be in action at Crystal Palace for the London Super Grand Prix this weekend.

Friday, 24 July 2009 – Tamsyn Lewis (400m), Scott Martin (SP), Jeff Riseley (800m), Collis Birmingham (5000m), Shawn Forrest (5000m)

Saturday, 25 July 2009 – Jana Pittman-Rawlinson (400H), Steve Hooker (PV), Sally McLellan (100mH), Fabrice Lapierre (LJ), Mitchell Watt (LJ), Paul Burgess (PV), Kim Mickle (javelin), Sean Wroe (400m),

Progression of Mitchell Watt in 2009 (legal jumps)

7.99 (0.7)
Brisbane, Australia
March 21

8.04 (1.3)
Gold Coast, Australia
January 26

8.10 (0.9)
Gold Coast, Australia
June 14

8.11 (1.6)
Melbourne, Australia
March 5

8.12 (-0.3)
Rome, Italy
July 10

8.12 (0.0)
Gold Coast, Australia
June 20

8.15 (0.5)
Ville, France
June 30

8.17 (-1.0)
Gold Coast, Australia
March 15

8.34 (2.0)
Madrid, Spain
July 4

8.43 (2.0)
Rethymno, Greece
July 20