Last year Lawrence Okoye smashed the British record with one of the farthest throws of the year, but inconsistency sometimes got the better of him and in a competitive battle at the UK Trials, he missed out on making the team for the World Championships.
After a solid winter, Okoye has started his Olympic campaign in great form and yesterday he threw a world-leading 66.67m to win the discus at the Mt SAC Relays in California.
He opened his series with a below-par 48.24m, but improved to 61.42m in the second round before hitting his best mark in the third. Okoye rounded out his series with 56.23m, 64.66m and a no-throw. He beat former European champion Robert Fazekas, while Britain´s world finalist Brett Morse was ninth with 59.86m.
Okoye´ss world lead was less than a metre shy of the 67.63m UK record and world age-19 best he set last year, and a mark that no other Briton has ever bettered. Also, for the first time ever, it is Okoye´s third successive competition in which he has thrown more than 60 metres, showing that he could have remedied his inconsistency problems of last year.
Within the past week, Okoye has competed in two other competitions. He finished second at the Rafer Johnson / Jackie Joyner-Kersee invitational last weekend with 62.48m, and on Thursday he was sixth in Chula Vista with 62.27m.
The European under-23 champion now possesses all the required standards for which to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics. All he needs to guarantee his spot is finish in the top two at the Olympic Trials – easier said than done in an event that saw unprecedented depth in Britain last year with four men over 65 metres and a fifth over 63.
The Mt SAC Relays continue today with many more British athletes in action.