11 FEB 2011 General News Brisbane, Australia

Pearson begins at the double in Brisbane

Sally Pearson winning the 100m at the 2011 Brisbane meeting (IAAF.org)Sally Pearson winning the 100m at the 2011 Brisbane meeting (IAAF.org) © Copyright

Sally Pearson intends to sprint a lot in the Australian domestic season and, in Brisbane on Friday night (11), she started as she intends to go on with a double in the 100 and 200 metres.

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games hurdles silver medallist took maximum advantage of the warm, still conditions to clock a season’s best 11.35 seconds to win the 100 metres at the start of the night’s programme. She then came back to win the 200 in 23.05, just 0.03 outside her personal best set two years ago.

On a night when no athlete achieved an A-standard for the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, Pearson got two of the three B-standards. Ironically, the third came in Pearson’s flagship event, Andrea Miller of New Zealand winning the 100 metres Hurdles in 13.15 seconds, right on the B-standard.

Pearson blitzed fellow-Queenslander Charlotte van Veenendal, who was second in 11.63 with Laura Whaler taking third in 11.77.

Pearson had run just one race over 100 before the Brisbane meeting, an 11.46 effort on her home track at the Gold Coast at the end of January.

Feeling in great shape

The one before that Pearson would sooner forget. It was the Commonwealth Games final in Delhi which she ‘won’ before being disqualified for a blatantly false start.

“I’m satisfied with that, it’s my second 100m since the Commonwealth Games and it wasn’t too shabby,” Pearson said.

“I’m feeling great, my body is in great shape and I’ve got a lot left in me looking ahead this season.”

With a heavy racing program planned, Pearson was delighted to open her 2011 campaign strongly.

“I’ve probably had the best preparation for a domestic season ever, and I am really excited about heading to Europe and competing over there,” Pearson said.

 “Domestically I am competing everywhere, Hobart’s next week, then Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Nationals.

 “I’ll be focusing on sprints, and it’s really exciting to be doing something different.”

Davis completes sprint double too

Berlin 2009 World championships 4x100 metres relay runner Matt Davies took out a double in the men’s sprints, but not before being given a heck of a battle by two of his Berlin team-mates.

Davies ran 10.43 to win the 100, with Berlin outdoor and Doha indoor World Championships Long Jump bronze medallist Mitchell Watt a step behind in 10.54. The times were nothing flash but it is good to see Watt back in competition after missing last year’s European outdoor season and the Commonwealth Games with injury.

The 200 was even closer as Davies’ 21.13 narrowly prevailed over Berlin 4x400 metres relay bronze medallist Sean Wroe, 21.14.

Ben Offereins, whose 2010 season tailed off after he ran 44.84 to win the Australian title last April, won the 400 in 46.25 from Commonwealth Games relay representative Kevin Moore. Next two across the line are from the ‘promising junior’ category – New Zealand’s Alex Jordan, 19 this year, was third in 46.92 and Steven Solomon fourth in 47.03.

Solomon, 17, ran 46.44 last December to win the Australian All Schools title.

Australian champion Lachlan Renshaw won the men’s 800 in a solid one minute 47.35 seconds from Nick Toohey, 1:47.72.

Renshaw has had two recent training stints with the Oregon Track Club Elite group under coach Mark Rowland.

In fourth place was 18-year-old Alex Rowe who finished fifth in the final at the World Youth Championships in Bressanone in 2009.

Georgie Clarke, a youthful prodigy when she made the Sydney 2000 Olympic team at the age of 16, won the women’s 1500 in 4:17.63.

World champ Samuels victorious

The pick of the field events was probably the men’s Long Jump in which Henry Frayne, 20, narrowly failed to become the 15th Australian to go past the eight-metre mark. Frayne jumped 7.98 metres to defeat the mercurial Chris Noffke, who leapt 8.33 last year behind Fabrice Lapierre’s massive 8.78w at the national championships in Perth.

It was Frayne’s second narrow miss at the 8m mark. His personal best, achieved in 2009, is 7.99, so something with an eight in front of it cannot be too far away. With Watt and Lapierre around, this year may be the time to achieve it.

Berlin 2009 World champion Dani Samuels took the women’s discus with a throw of 59.72 ahead of World junior championships representative Kim Mulhall (55.10).

“It’s my first proper comp (sic) for the season and 59 metres is pretty much how I have opened the past two seasons,” Samuels said.

“I feel pretty strong and my body is right. Now it’s about getting consistent, used to competition, and I know the distance will follow.”

Len Johnson for the IAAF