Commonwealth pole vault champion Alana Boyd has continued her exceptional domestic season form at the Perth Track Classic, recording the highest jump ever on Australian soil.
Boyd’s 4.66m clearance is also the highest jump by an Australian outdoors, second all-time only to Kym Howe’s national record of 4.72m set indoors in Donetsk, Ukraine in 2007.
“It’s pretty good, I can’t complain and it’s nice to actually have a five centimetre PB rather than a one centimetre PB. It’s all coming together, I was a little bit shaky on the runway tonight but hopefully I can fix that for Sydney and jump higher,” Boyd said.
The native Queenslander, based in Western Australia to train under the tutelage of pole vault guru Alex Parnov, had three unsuccessful attempts at 4.75m.
“The Australian record is there, I know it. I think that’s why I was so frustrated because I know it’s there. I just have to go back and have some more jumps this week, and work on my jumps technically. Hopefully it will happen.
“I think it’s been working for me because I’ve been relatively injury free after coming back from Daegu, which is a nice change not coming back from an operation. I guess that the disappointment of missing the final in Daegu spurred me on and I’ve done a lot more jumping than I’ve done before.”
Despite favourable conditions, Boyd’s performance was one of only three Olympic A-qualifiers recorded by Australians on the night, with the other two achieved by Sally Pearson in the 100m (11.28; 0.4) and 100m hurdles (12.86; 0.4). However, strong B-qualifying performances were recorded by Henry Frayne in the triple jump (a 17.09m personal best, and a wind-assisted 17.14m) and Lauren Boden in the 400m hurdles (55.61).
“That was agonizingly close [to the Olympic A-qualifier]. It may have been an illegal wind for the big jump but it was a legal following wind when I went 17.09m, which is good. But overall it was a PB and a step in the right direction,” Frayne said.
“That’s the first tail wind over 1 m/s I’ve had in about a year or over a season and a half. I was pretty satisfied with those conditions.
“I may jump in Sydney next week in the long jump though. But after that it will be Melbourne and I’m looking forward to hopefully going to those extra six centimetres.”
Discus throwers Dani Samuels and Benn Harradine continued solid form, throwing 60.74m and 63.40m respectively. Samuels was third behind Americans Stefanie Trafton-Brown (61.71m) and Aretha Thurmond (60.96m) in close competition, while Russ Winger was again too good for Harradine with a 65.46m best throw.
John Steffensen and Steven Solomon opened their season over 400m, with Steffensen too classy for the rest of the field. Running from lane two, the West Australian recorded the fastest time by an Australian this season with a 46.11 second clocking ahead of Solomon’s 46.26 seconds. In worrying signs for Australia’s 4x400m relay squad, Ben Offereins was the only other athlete to break 46.5.
In the 200m junior Nicholas Hough won a close race with Stawell Gift finalist Andrew McCabe, grabbing the win by three-hundredths of a second in 20.79 seconds (+1.1). The runs were personal bests for both athletes.
In a men’s 1500m field without Jeff Riseley, Ryan Gregson or Craig Mottram, a meet record of 3:39.11 was achieved by Brenton Rowe, with Jordan Williamsz second in 3:39.91. Rowe is not eligible to represent Australia, having switched his allegiance to Austria last year.
Kerrie Perkins and Brooke Stratton continued their rivalry in the women’s long jump, with Perkins taking a two centimetre victory in 6.45m (+0.8). Fabrice Lapierre opened his outdoor season with a 7.81m (+1.4) jump.
The domestic season moves next week to Australia’s premier athletics meet, the Sydney Track Classic, where athletes will be desperate to record qualifying performances ahead of the Olympic selection trials in Melbourne a fortnight later.