The 4th edition of IAAF World Challenge took place, as usual, in Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium. A lot of big names appeared to be on the entry lists and it was promising for some great results. It seems the audience and the world was not dissapointed.
The Qantas Melbourne World Challenge is a highlight of the Qantas Australian Athletics Tour and the only Australian athletics meet to be included by the sport’s international governing body in the 15-meet global IAAF World Challenge.
To start off the best results were achieved by the New Zealander and shot put bronze medalist Tom Walsh. He continues his great improvements after the 2014 Indoor World Championships in Sopot, Poland. At the Indoor WC he improved already his personal indoor best and hence the national indoor record. Now it is time to break some records in the outdoor season. It seems that was a goal he set before going into the competition. Tom Walsh started his day with a 20,48m (67′ 2″) and improved almost during every following attempt. His fourth attempt was the best one. He tossed the 7.26kg ball to 21,16m (69′ 5″), a new outdoor national record for New Zealand! “Damo” Birkinhead, an international junior star from Australia, marked one at 19,31m (63′ 4″).
The second best performances were found on the javelin runway. The Australian Kim Mickle underlined her great shape with four throws above 61m. During her third attempt she smashed her own personal record and also threw a new area record! The 66,83m (219′ 3″) moves her up the 2014 top list to the first place. Kathrin Mitchel, also Australian, threw also a qualification standard for the 2014 Commonwealth Games with 62,58m (205′ 3″).
“It’s a relief but I don’t feel like it has happened yet,” said the 29-year-old Mickle. Once I get home and see it written down it will sink in. I can’t believe it, it is the best thing ever. It wasn’t an amazing technique throw but I just nailed the point and with javelin if you nail it with a bit of force behind it, it is going to go. Technically definitely not perfect but it had a fair bit of force and it hit a nice point.”
The previous record of 66,80m was set by the Atlanta Olympic Games silver medalist Louise Currey.
“Kim is a proven character and great athlete. This is just super for the javelin in Australia.”
The discus throwing event was also on the schedule at the IAAF World Challenge and everyone knew the winners of both events (men and women) were set before even the competiton started. The famous discus thrower Benn Harradine won the competition, as expected, with a useful 63,59m. He is currently the top discus thrower leading the world with his 65,24m (214′) thrown in beginning of March. Mattthew Denny, one of the promising Australian throwers for the Junior (U20) World Championships in Eugene later in the summer, moved up from his customary 1.75kg discii to the 2kg and dropped into second with a season best of 56,84m (186′ 5″).
The former discus World Champion Dani Samuels, currently placed 2nd on the 2014 top list, won also as expected the women discus event. All three of her valid throws were above 61m. Her best throw was measured 63,89m (209′ 7″) which again underlines her goal to win the gold medal at this season’s Commonwealth Games. Currently only the great Croation discus thrower Sandra Perkovic (70,51m/231′ 3″) is in front of her on the season best list. But Dani Samuels could not care less for that results since Perkovic will not compete at the Commonwealth Games. It does not seem like it that there would anyone who could fight also for the gold medal.
At the women shot put event the queen of Athletics Valerie Adams took gold with 19,68m (64′ 6″). It is not her best result but she is still happy with her 45th consecutive win. Her comment was:
45th consecutive win today, happy with the win, not with the result. But now looking ahead to the NZ Nationals next weekend before heading back to Swiss. Thanks all for your continued support.
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