23 MAR 2013 Report Brisbane, Australia

Lapierre returns to the runway in Brisbane

Fabrice Lapierre of Australia celebrates gold in the Long Jump final (Getty Images)Fabrice Lapierre of Australia celebrates gold in the Long Jump final (Getty Images) © Copyright

As one of Australia’s top long jump talents, Olympic Games and IAAF World Championships silver medallist Mitchell Watt, struggles to get his season going, another returned to the runway in some style on Saturday (23).

Fabrice Lapierre, the 2010 World Indoor Championships Long Jump gold medallist, won the Queensland Track Classic with a best of 7.96 metres.

 The Queensland Track Classic is part of the Australian Athletics Tour which concludes on 6 April with the Qantas Melbourne World Challenge, the first meeting in the 2013 IAAF World Challenge.

The jump was wind-aided with a following breeze of 2.5mps, and it was the only measured jump of Lapierre’s series, but it did put the frustrations of the past two years behind him.

After an outstanding year in 2010 which brought him the World indoor title, a personal best of8.40m; plus a huge wind-aided effort of 8.78m, Samsung Diamond League victories in Shanghai and Gateshead as well as a Commonwealth Games gold medal, Lapierre went into relative decline.

He jumped over eight metres, just with 8.02m, in 2011 but Lapierre did not qualify for the IAAF World Championships final in Daegu, Korea that year. He reached 8.10m last summer but, agonizingly, missed out of Olympic Games selection.

While he is still a considerable way short of his best, Lapierre’s result in Brisbane hopefully suggests he is back on the right track and ready to join battle with Great Britain’s Olympic champion Greg Rutherford and also Watt at the opening meeting in Melbourne next month.

Ross also pointing towards Melbourne

Sprinter Joshua Ross will face an appointment in Melbourne with the most prolific sub-10 man of all-time, Jamaica’s former world record holder Asafa Powell.

Before that, Ross will have another meeting with Powell when both run the Stawell Easter Gift, possibly the most famous handicap sprint races in the world.

As a two-time winner of the race and one of only two men to have ever won off the scratch mark, Ross may fancy his chances of an upset in Stawell, if not in Melbourne.

Ross continued his recent good form with a sprint double in Brisbane. He took the 100m in 10.29 meeting record and just a tick slower than the 10.25 he ran in Sydney two weeks ago.

Less than an hour later, Ross came back to win the 200m in 20.78.

Earlier in the meeting, a Hong Kong team won the men’s 4x100m relay in a solid 39.42 Hong Kong was a semi-finalist in this event at the London 2012 Olympic Games and second to Japan in the 2011 Asian Championships.

Toea Wisil produced a rare win for Papua New Guinea on Australian soil when she won the women’s 100m in 11.57.

Wisil, an Olympic Games representative, was also third in the 200m with 23.99 behind Australian pair Monica Brenna (23.87) and Caitlin Sargent (23.92).

Cann Sets national junior record in the Javelin

Luke Cann, 18, who led the qualifiers at last year’s World Junior Championships, before finishing seventh in the final, set an Australian junior record when finishing second in the Javelin with a distance of 76.58m.

He added 68cm to the previous mark set by Oliver Dziubak in 2001. Hamish Peacock threw 76.81m in the final round to snatch the victory from the teenager.

Alana Boyd, who has moved back from Perth to her hometown Brisbane, won the pole vault in front of her hometown crowd. Boyd, who set an Australian record of 4.76m last year, was looking for something in excess of 4.60m, but she failed three times at 4.50m after beginning with first-time clearances at 4.30m and 4.40m.

Len Johnson for the IAAF