20th IAAF Grand Prix season gets underway in Melbourne
Thursday 12 February 2004
12 February 2004 - Justin Anlezark and Bronwyn Thompson produced the headline performances of the final event of the 2004 Telstra A-series at Olympic Park in Melbourne Australia, today. The meeting also provided the tradition annual southern hemisphere beginning to the IAAF Grand Prix series which was first established in 1985 and is celebrating its 20th season.
Anlezark - 20.49m
The World indoor and outdoor Shot Put championship fifth placer Anlezark took only two attempts in today’s competition, winning with his opening 20.49m performance; he fouled his second put. Anlezark has been in superb form in 2004 having had a series of four competitions in excess of 20 metres, with a best of 20.79m in Brisbane (24 Jan). He is the Commonwealth champion and finished second in the 2002 IAAF World Cup. In second place today was Rhys Jones with a new personal best of 19.54m.
Season’s best for Thompson
Bronwyn Thompson, the Commonwealth record holder in the women’s Long Jump, also won with her opening effort in Melbourne, producing a season’s best leap of 6.72m (legal wind +2m/s). Her full series was 6.72m(2.0); foul (1.1); 6.35m(1.1); 6.32m(1.5); 6.42m(0.9); 4.89m(1.5). The 26 year-old who was seventh at the World championships last summer had a previous best this winter of 6.68m.
The fortunes of Australian men’s 400m running continued to rise with Casey Vincent winning in a new personal best of 45.31. Clinton Hill clocked 45.50 for second and in third place was Pat Dwyer with 45.98.
In the men’s 1500 metres, Alastair Stevenson clocked 3:37.49 to beat Commonwealth bronze medallist Youcef Abdi (3:37.94) after an epic finishing straight battle.
Denmark’s 28 year-old Rikke Ronholt won the women’s 800m in a new personal best of 2:02.11. There was a similar improvement for Australia’s Libby Allen who was drawn to second place in 2:02.47 so heading current national champion Tamsyn Lewis (3rd, 2:02.97), the first time she has been beaten by an Australian in 7 years.
Clarke runs back to form
However, there was better luck for a younger Australian middle distance hope as Georgie Clarke, 19, the former World Youth champion, won the 1500m with her fastest time for two years, 4:09.66.
2002 IAAF World Cup 3000m winner Craig Mottram ran a great race out on his own in the men’s 5000m, winning in 13:25.97.
Another distance running stalwart, 24 year-old Benita Johnson who set the Area 10,000m record (30:37.68) when finishing eighth in the World championships last summer won the women’s 5000m race in 15:23.68.
Commonwealth record holder and 2001 World bronze medallist Bronwyn Eagles won the women’s Hammer with a throw of 67.46m.
New Zealand’s 1997 World Discus champion Beatrice Faumuina won her specialist event with a release of 60.86m
The current Australian junior record holder Oliver Dziubak, 21, was outstanding in the men’s Javelin, setting a new personal best of 82.79 metres.