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Bronwyn Eagles smashes Commonwealth hammer

Bronwyn Eagles smashes Commonwealth hammer
Mike Hurst (Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Australia) for the IAAF
10 February 2002 – Campbelltown, Australia -  Bronwyn Eagles smashed the Commonwealth hammer throw record but the excitement of seeing her mother attending the Telstra A-series meet at Campbelltown on Sunday (February 10) seems to have jinxed a much bigger throw.

Banned for a decade from watching the oldest of her eight children compete, Diane Eagles decided to make a surprise appearance as big-time athletics came to their local stadium.

She was still trying to find a parking spot when Bronwyn hurled the golden ball 69.38m on her first attempt to better the 68.87m Commonwealth record she set to win the bronze medal at the Edmonton World Championships last August.

Although she has a 70m effort on the statistics list, the performance came on an unsurveyed field at Calgary prior to the world titles last year so her mark was not ratified for any record purposes.

Eagles, 21, went through the motions until the fifth round here Sunday when she let fly with a monstrous throw which saw the steel ball land well beyond the white tape marking 70m, a distance only nine women have ever bettered.

Unfortunately, after the hammer had already landed, she turned her toe over the rim of the throwing circle and the red flag flew to signal a foul.

“I just moved my foot a little bit with the excitement. The major influence on my fifth round throw was I looked up and saw my mum (sitting on the hill) and I was very excited. I don’t blame mum. That was all my own fault. But now I’m kicking myself,“ said Eagles.

Mrs Eagles was delighted to have seen her daughter in action for the first time since Bronwyn’s coach, Ernie Shankleton, placed a friendly ban on her from primary school carnivals because her daughter could not control her excitement.

“I do what the coach says and stay out of it,“ Diane told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph when, for the first time, the entire Eagles family congregated to watch Bronwyn in action - an occurrence she described as “like a miracle.“

But when Bronwyn looks for a legitimate 70m throw at the A-Series in Newcastle next Saturday-week (Feb 23), she should not expect  to see mum there.

Shankleton may put his own foot down. To the suggestion that Bronwyn could do without her mother’s ‘jinx‘, he said: “I think so. It’s just one of those psychological things.“

America’s Alvin Harrison showed his world class on the track winning the 200m in 20.54sec into a stiff 2.1m/sec headwind to beat Sydney’s David Geddes (21.03sec) and Canberra’s national title-holder Patrick Johnson (21.14sec) in the 200m.

The Sydney Olympic 400m runner-up was not bashful in declaring his intention to become the first man ever to run under 10sec for 100m, under 20sec for 200m and under 44sec for 400m before he hangs up his spikes.

“I think I am the ultimate sprinter,“ said Harrison, who may yet make good his boast.

Nick Moroney (NSW), the national title-holder, won the high jump with a good clearance at 2.25m from Sydney’s young Joshua Lodge (2.18m) with national record-holder Tim Forsyth fourth at 2.10m in his comeback after double surgery to remove a bone from his left ankle.

“The doctors said there’s nerve damage in my take-off ankle. I’ve got 30 per cent feeling. No-one can tell me how much nerve function is needed,“ said Forsyth, determined to continue testing his limits.

The experiment taking the grand prix away from the Olympic heartland of Homebush to Campbelltown some 50km away in Sydney’s south-west was a qualified success.

Athletics Australia’s chief executive Simon Allatson gave the crowd figure at 4000. If accurate, that doubled the attendance at Homebush last year.

In other results:

Women: Benita Johnson (ACT) won the 5000m in 15min 49.00sec,  Fiona Cullen (Qld) won the 100m hurdles in 13.28sec from NSW’s Jacquie Munro (13.30sec), Adrienne McIvor (Qld) won the 800m in 2:03.93 from NSW champion Suzy Walsham (2:04.73), Jane Arnott (NZ) won the 400m from Jana Pittman (later disqualified from lane infringement) in the same time of 52.49sec, and Victoria’s Katerina Dressler (52.66).

Chantal Brunner (NZ) won the long jump with a windy last round 6.67m from Queensland’s Bronwyn Thompson (6.64m) and Nicole Boegman (6.50m). Lauren Hewitt (Vic) won the 200m in 23.30sec (headwind 1.1m/sec) from Queensland’s Sharon Cripps (23.68).

Men: Justin Anlezark (Qld) won the shot put with 19.34m from NSW’s Clay Cross (18.22m), Wollongong’s Andrew Currey (81.05m) won the javelin, Sydney’s Youcef Abdi topped the national 800m rankings to win in 1:48.32 from Todd MacDonald (1:48.52), Sisay Bezabah (ACT) won the 5000m in 13:45.52 from Dean Cavuoto (13:48.88).

Canberra’s Matt Beckenham (50.77sec) ran down training partner Rohan Robinson (50.96sec) in the 400m hurdles, while China’s Dongpeng Shi (14.06sec) ran into a strong headwind to win the 110m hurdles from Queenslanders Andrew Cameron (14.36) and Stuart Anderson (14.39).