old Fabrice Lapierre took an unexpected win in the men’s Long Jump in today’s second day of action at the IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final here in Stuttgart.
The Australian former World Junior silver medallist built on his recent win at the IAAF World Athletics Tour meeting in Zagreb equalling his season’s best 8.14, the same mark which gave him the win five days ago in Croatia.
While Lapierre, the inform athlete in this end of the season finale, had been the only to go beyond 8 metres in Zagreb, this time around, his third-round effort proved to be only just good enough for the winners’ 30,000$ paycheck.
Lapierre said: "At the Australian Championships, I injured my left groin and then I did not do anything until July. I did not get into many meetings and this is why I didn't qualify for Beijing. I could have surprised everyone at the Olympic Games because no one really knew me, it is a shame. So I surprised everyone winning the World Athletics Final today."
In second, Saudi Arabia’s Hussein Taher Al-Sabee was just one centimetre short of what would have been his fifth victory of the one-day meeting circuit. The 28-year-old three-time Asian champion has indeed amassed victories in the Golden League meetings in Berlin, Oslo and Zurich in addition to his first place in Prague. Today he will have to be content with second, a minor compensation after he finished out of the top 8 at the Beijing Olympic Games.
With Olympic champion Irving Saladino deciding against competing here in Stuttgart for the second consecutive year and defending WAF champion Andrew Howe also not present, marks failed to impress.
Mohamed Salman Al Khuwalidi needed only 8.04 -also a third round mark - to secure third place slightly ahead of Luis Felipe Meliz of Spain whose only legal jump of the day was a second-round 8.03 which had given him a temporary lead half-way through the contest.
German fans could cheer on for the local pair of Nils Winter and Sebastian Bayer who were eighth and fifth at 7.54 and 8.00 respectively.
Incidentally Godfrey Khotso Mokoena and Ibrahim Camejo, respectively Olympic silver and bronze medallists, were also absent.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF