Vili, McLellan impress in Canberra
Saturday 26 January 2008
Canberra, Australia – New Zealand’s visiting World Champion Valerie Vili confirmed her Olympic title intentions when she launched the shot 19.72m to win the Australia Day national series meet in the Australian capital today.
In so doing, the jovial but physically imposing 192cm and 121kg Maori also sent a message across the seas to Belorussia’s Nadezhda Ostapchuk, the Osaka silver medallist, who leads the world this new year with her performance last week indoors in Minsk where she threw 1cm further than Vili’s Canberra best.
Sally McLellan at the Sydney Track Classic
Other than Vili and Athens Olympic bronze medallist Ostapchuk themselves, only two others bettered the Kiwi’s massive Canberra distance during 2007.
"I’m in pretty full-on training at the moment so anything over 19.50m is good,” Vili said. “I’m looking forward to the Sydney Grand Prix (16 February) and (the 86th Australian Championships in) Brisbane (28 Feb – 1 March) before the World Indoors in Valencia in March (7-9).”
Another New Zealand thrower, Stuart Farquhar demonstrated his capacity to reach the Beijing Olympic final in the Javelin Throw with a solid 83.23m victory in Canberra over Queenslander Jarrod Bannister (82.60m) clear of NSW’s William Hamlyn-Harris (74.96m) and Korea’s Sang-Jin Chung (74.89m) in a good quality field.
Tamsyn Lewis at the Sydney Track Classic
McLellan threatens national record with 12.72 victory
On the track 21-year-old Queenslander Sally McLellan thrilled Australians with her 100m Hurdles victory in 12.72 (tailwind 0.3m/s), a time just 0.01 slower than her Area record and, for the second run in a row, the fastest time ever by an Australian at home following her 12.81 (+1.1m/s) in Sydney on 12 January.
New Zealand’s Andrea Miller was second in 13.35 from Queenslander Fiona Cullen (13.69) and West Australian heptathlete Kylie Wheeler (13.91) on the newly resurfaced Mondo track at the Australian Institute of Sport arena.
“I’m pretty shocked. It didn’t feel as fast as Sydney,” McLellan admitted.
Despite earlier winning the 100m sprint, McLellan’s spirits had sunk because she felt “like crap” and clocked 11.41 (-0.2m/s) still convincingly ahead of 1999 World Championship 200m finalist Lauren Hewitt (11.72).
“Everything hurt during that 100m run. It was really poor, very disappointing. I was so tired coming up to the hurdles, I actually said to myself , ‘I don’t care’ so maybe that’s why I felt relaxed. Maybe the 100 sprint cleared the cobwebs for the hurdles which followed,” said the 2003 World Youth Championship hurdles gold medallist.
McLellan said during the hurdles she concentrated on her technique “just trying to get my lead leg down faster and by thinking of that I got a really good time.”
And that despite her coach Sharon Hannan setting her a heavy week of training which including a quite high volume of plyometric drills and weightlifting the day before the Canberra meet.
“My final set of bench-press was four reps with 50kg, on half-squats I went four or five reps with 62kg and 42kg on my cleans, which is heavy for me, plus I did a lot of bounding and hopping up stairs and over hurdles yesterday,” the 60kg and 166cm McLellan revealed.
Solid two-lap running
Sydney University student Lachlan Renshaw, guided by veteran coach John Atterton, became the first new Australian male to be added to the list of Olympic qualifiers this domestic season with his excellent victory in the 800m in 1:46.90 (bettering Athletics Australia’s selection B-standard of 1:47.0).
“I ran 1:47.0 nearly two years ago,” Renshaw said. “It’s great to do a PB after two years.” He said he would target the Olympic A-time of 1:46.00 at the New South Wales State championships in Sydney, 8-10 February.
Tamsyn Lewis also dominated the two-lap event, winning in 2:00.48 and leading fellow Victorian Madeleine Pape (2:01.24) to become a new Olympic B-qualifier this summer. Denmark’s Rikke Ronholt Albertsen (2:03.41) and South Australian Holly Noack (2:03.58) also ran with courage.
“The faster I go, the faster the rest of the field goes,” said Lewis, 11 times Australian 800m champion. “It’s nice to have us running down close to the two dead mark again.”
World University Games 110m Hurdles finalist Justin Merlino, 22, coached by Fira Dvoskina, was desperately close to clocking his first Olympic qualifying time, winning in 13.75 (+0.6m/s). AA’s B-time is 13.72, a mark the 183cm and 83kg Merlino looks poised to get soon.
Sydney psychology student Joel Milburn, 22, coached by Munich and Moscow Olympic hurdler Penny Gillies, continued his unbeaten season with a win over 400m in 46.19 to defeat big young Queenslander Dylan Grant (46.34) and two members of the Athens Olympic “silver bullets” 4x400m relay, Clinton Hill (46.46) and Mark Ormrod (46.81).
The 2006 World Junior Champion and World Student Games gold medallist Robbie Crowther won the long jump with 8.01m (+0.7m/s) from US-based Sydney athlete Fabrice Lapierre (7.74m) who has just returned to Australia for the selection series.
Athens Olympic finalist and 2006 Commonwealth long jump champion Bronwyn Thompson returned to competition winning with 6.44m (nil wind) narrowly from heptathlete Kylie Wheeler (6.42m, nil wind).
West Australia’s Ellen Pettitt cleared her second Olympic B-qualifying height of 1.91m to win the high jump from Queensland’s Catherine Drummond (1.85m).
Victorian sprinter Daniel Burgess won the C-heat in 10.34 (+0.1m/s) for the fastest 100m time of the day to press his claims for a place in Australia’s relay programme.
AIS scholarship-holder Adam Miller of NSW won the top-ranked race in 10.41 (-0.9m/s) from Victoria’s young Adam Rouge-Serret (10.43), NSW’s Matt Shirvington (10.54) and American John Woods (10.56). The shock performance was a listless last in 10.88 by Josh Ross, winner of the last four Australian 100m titles.
New Zealand’s James Dolphin won the B-100 final in 10.58 (-1.4m/s) and then took out the top 200m race in 20.73 (+0.6m/s) from Miller (20.81) and Daniel Batman (20.83).
Fiji’s champion all-rounder Makelesi Batimala won an excellent sprint double, taking the 200m A-final in 23.67 from Australian Lauren Hewitt (23.73) and New Zealand national champion Monique Williams (23.85). The Fijian also crushed the opposition in the 400m, winning in 52.85 from NSW’s Trisha Greaves (54.12) with several Australian international representatives in her wake.
Mike Hurst (Sydney Daily and Sunday Telegraph) for the IAAF