ATHLETICS: The Australian Flame have enjoyed great success at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing (CHN) on day three, with all of Alana Boyd (Qld), Dani Samuels (NSW) and Fabrice Lapierre (NSW) advancing to finals.
Not to be outdone, up and coming sprinter Anneliese Rubie (NSW) has clocked a personal best of 51.69 to progress to the penultimate round of the women's 400m.
Competing in the women's pole vault, the Commonwealth champion Boyd made a courageous decision to boost her opening height to 4.45m, well beyond the maiden mark of 4.15m. Soaring clear with just one jump, she missed two attempts at 4.55m before a third jump clearance to ensure her start in the round-of-12.
"I was really happy with my warm-up, to the point where my coach (Ray Boyd, her father) said it's your call for the starting height and we agreed on 4.45m. The third attempt at 4.55m was a bit tense, but I ran down the runway better, it was a good jump, it felt good and I think there is a lot more there for the final," Boyd said.
Samuels opened her account in the women's discus throw with a foul that saw the disc slam into the cage. Recovering well, the nine-time national champion threw 61.87m with her second throw, before improving again on her third attempt to 62.01m. The result will see her start as the eighth ranked thrower in the final tomorrow night.
"The first throw felt really good, it just hit the cage. I had to adjust from there to make sure that it went in the direction that I wanted to but my speed in the circle didn't recover," Samuels said.
"A lot of people struggle with qualifying. I've ticked it off and now I can get ready for the final. There is something a lot bigger there for the final. I feel really good and I can't wait for then opportunity to come back."
The Australian champion Lapierre opened his account in the qualifying round of the men's long jump with an impressive 8.03m (w: +0.2). Two fouls followed, with the former Commonwealth and world indoor champion forced to endure an agonising wait before his spot in the final was confirmed.
"It's a bit of a relief. I had to wait so long after a good first jump. It was the most nerve-wracking thing ever. Just waiting and waiting, and then finally it was done. Thank god for that," Lapierre said.
"I should have made better adjustments to my foul jumps, they must have been very close to legal. They were good jumps. I'm happy with that and looking forward to tomorrow."
Rubie's run in the heat of the women's 400m was arguably the performance of the day.
Her time of 51.69 is an Olympic Games qualifying mark, and she becomes the fastest Australian woman over one-lap since Tamsyn Manou in 2009 and the first world championship semi-finalist in the event since Catherine Freeman in 1999.
"It's as good as they say out there. The track is lightning fast, the stadium is amazing and it's hot. The conditions are perfect. I had an absolute ball. I executed my race almost perfectly. I didn't want to leave the race thinking there was anything left in the tank, and I've definitely done that," Rubie said.
"I want to improve in the next round. I think I am in even better shape. To be honest, I'm stoked regardless. It's just a bonus after only getting in to the championships late."
In other Australian Flame results on Day of the IAAF World Championships
- Madeline Heiner (NSW) will miss a start in the final of the women's 3000m steeplechase by a mere 0.56 seconds. She ran a strong heat to please fourth in 9:30.79, with her time the quickest of those outside the list of finalists. She will now turn her attention to the 5000m later in the program.
- Genevieve LaCaze (Qld) and Victoria Mitchell also started in the women's 3000m steeplechase, clocking 9:39.35 and 9:43.73 respectively. Neither progressed to the next round.
- The youngest athlete on the Australian Flame team, Nina Kennedy (WA) unfortunately no-heighted in the women's pole vault. Entering the competition at 4.15m, well below her best of 4.59m, she was unable to make a clearance and progress.
Competition at the IAAF World Championships continues this afternoon, with the Australian Flame to be represented by Hamish Peacock (Tas) and Lauren Wells (ACT).
Peacock will be the first in the Bird's Nest, taking to the runway for the qualifying round of the men's javelin, while Wells will launch in the third of three semi-finals of the women's 400m hurdles. Wells' start follow her dramatic disqualification after an impressive heat run yesterday, before a request for immediate review of the decision by Australian team officials saw her reinstated.