Inside Athletics

Boyd sets personal best

Alana Boyd was the standout performer of the Adelaide Track Classic, jumping to a new personal best of 4.61m.

With her performance the 27-year-old Commonwealth champion moved to outright second place on the Australian all-time list ahead of former world record holder Emma George.

The jump is Boyd’s fourth Olympic A-qualifying performance and will almost inevitably lead to her being selected for her second Olympic team.

“It was good, I started at 4.45m then moved through to 4.61 and then 66 so 61 was a personal best. I’m happy with that, it was only one centimeter but I’ll take it as a PB,” said Boyd.

“I think it shows that there are certainly bigger heights in me. It’s only my second comp of the season off a full approach so it can only get better from here.”

There was an upset in the men’s pole vault with Olympic and world champion Steve Hooker only finishing third with a 5.00m leap. However, Hooker was competing off an approach of only 8 steps in order to fulfill his obligations under Athletics Australia’s nomination criteria for the Olympic Games, which requires athletes to compete in each of the four Australian Athletics Tour meets if their event is being held.

“It was a tough day today, just waiting for the wind most of the day, it swirls around a bit here. But when there was good conditions it was possible to jump high, but the little time we have to take our jumps, if you get some bad wind there’s not much you can do.

“When I had good conditions my jump was really good and when you have good conditions you move through your poles. But it’s just hard to make them work into a headwind with a short approach, there are no variables you can change to account for the wind.”

On the track Sally Pearson demonstrated superb form into trying headwinds, clocking 11.32 (-1.4) before clocking an even more impressive 23.14 into a 3.6 m/s headwind. The 100m hurdles world champion’s personal best over the distance is 23.03 seconds.

As expected the men’s 1500m was a tactical affair between Jeff Riseley and Ryan Gregson. With the pace gradually quickening each lap after a slow 66 second first quarter the race became a sprint down the home straight between the duo, with Gregson gaining the upper hand and winning in 3:47.84. It is expected that their next match up, in Perth in a fortnight, will be a similarly tactical race before Riseley, and in particular, Gregson, challenge for Olympic qualifying times in Sydney and Melbourne (Riseley already possesses an Olympic A-qualifier).

Dani Samuels returned to 60m territory for the first time since the qualifying round of last year’s world championships, with a 61.23m throw. USA's Russ Winger defeated Benn Harradine for the second time in a fortnight 60.98m to 60.37m.

The women’s long jump saw one of the deepest competitions in recent memory with Kerrie Perkins leaping 6.57m (0.2) to beat 18-year-old Brooke Stratton (6.51m; 1.5).

A changing of the guard in the women’s 800m was on show with Kelly Hetherington shadowing the pacemaker and running strongly home for a new personal best of 2:02.46. Tamsyn Manou ran for most of the race mid-pack before finishing strongly over the top of Zoe Buckman, but her 2:03.61 performance was never a challenge to Hetherington and marks the first time since 2007 that she has suffered a defeat over the two laps by an Australian.