Sunday, 18 April 2010

Lapierre clears 8.78m during CWG trials

Australian Fabrice Lapierre floated and flew to the sixth-greatest performance by a long jumper under any conditions on Sunday - and then predicted even bigger things to come.

Lapierre's massive jump of 8.78m - with the aid of a 3.1m per second tailwind - was the standout performance of the three-day Commonwealth Games selection trials.

Only Americans Mike Powell, Bob Beamon and Carl Lewis, Soviet athlete Robert Emmiyan and Cuban Ivan Pedroso have ever jumped further, and Pedroso's jump was also wind-assisted.

"It's always there," said Lapierre, 26, who won the world indoor title last month.

"People don't understand that one day I'm going to jump something even more exceptional than that.

"It's only a matter of time until I do something crazy and everyone is going to take notice."

In a high-standard competition, Chris Noffke finished second, moving to fourth on the Australian all-time list with a jump of 8.33m with a legal tailwind.

Noffke's big leap in the penultimate round provided Lapierre with the motivation to go for broke.

"I couldn't have cared if the wind was 10 metres per second wind - that jump was incredible," he said.

" ... it just felt natural, nothing special.

"But it felt like I was flying I guess, it felt so easy - like I was floating through the air."

Lapierre's legal PB remains at 8.35m and he has pledged to break the national record of 8.49m by the end of 2010.

Ryan Gregson won the blue-riband 1500m title on Sunday, mowing down Jeff Riseley in the final 20 metres in the first-ever competitive clash between the two rising stars of Australian middle distance running.

Gregson won a tactical race in three minutes 44.99 seconds ahead of Riseley (3:45.15) and Jeremy Roff (3:45.37) with the first two certain to be among the estimated 70 athletes named in the initial Delhi Games team on Monday.

"We had 12 guys trying to think on their feet today and it pretty much went down to what I thought it would be like," said the 19-year-old Gregson.

"Riseley's strength was going a lap out and just trying to hold me out.

"And as I have shown every race this season, my strength has just been simply the home straight - that has been the only time I have been taking the lead.

" ... we are all going to continue getting better together, then one of us is going to make a breakthrough and win an Olympic medal or something like that."

Australia's two reigning world champions, pole vaulter Steve Hooker (5.80m) and discus thrower Dani Samuels (63.61m), were untroubled in winning their respective events.

But despite the $100,000 on offer if he could break Sergey Bubka's 17-year-old world record, Hooker did not even get a crack at 6.15m after missing twice at 5.95m and once at 6.01m.

WA sprinter Jody Henry made a massive double breakthrough on the weekend, adding the 200m title in 23.29 on Sunday to the one-lap national crown she had won the previous night.

The 25-year-old Henry is set to run both events in Delhi, the first time she will have contested individual races at a major international championship.

Veteran Patrick Johnson (20.78) bounced back from the disappointment of finishing out of the medals in the 100m by edging out Aaron Rouge-Serret by four hundredths of a second in the 200m final.

Other winners on Sunday who did enough to book their places on the Delhi Games team included Scott Martin (shot put), Jarrod Bannister (javelin), Petrina Price (high jump), Lauren Boden (400m hurdles) and Hayley Butler (100m hurdles).

Martin has also qualified in the discus, the event he won four years ago in Melbourne.


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