Jeff Riseley became the first man in 24 years to win the 800m/1500m double at the Australian Championships, while Olympic champion Sally Pearson was one of several athletes to confirm their selection to the team bound for the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015.
Held in Brisbane, the four-day event concluded on Sunday (29) and brought an end to the Australian Athletics Tour.
Stopping the clock in a hand-timed 3:43.8, Risely took the honours in the 1500m ahead of Ryan Gregson and Joshua Wright. One day earlier, Riseley had triumphed in the 800m, winning by more than a second in 1:47.13. He became the first man to win both middle-distance events at the Australian Championships since Simon Doyle in 1991.
“The aim was to win two in Australia,” said Riseley. “It shows how good a shape I am in and I’m happy. We probably haven’t had an athlete since Simon that could do both, and it makes me feel good that I am in that sort of company.”
Bursting from the blocks on Sunday after withdrawing from the women’s 100m as a precaution the night before, Pearson clocked 12.59 (1.3m/s) to win the 100m hurdles, breaking the meeting record of 12.71 (-0.7m/s) she had set just moments earlier in the qualifying round.
But the biggest surprise came from second-place finisher Michelle Jenneke, who smashed her PB on two occasions. The 2012 world junior finalist ran 12.82 in the final, bettering the 12.92 PB she had set in the previous round and putting herself in the frame for selection for the IAAF World Championships.
“It’s nice to feel happy after a race, that’s for sure,” said Pearson. “It was a terrible first five hurdles but I knew Michelle was right there and I had to just focus on myself, worry about what I had to do to be the best hurdler today and that’s what happened.”
With Pearson out of the 100m, the title went to national record-holder Melissa Breen in a season’s best of 11.26 (0.9m/s).
The men’s event was won by 19-year-old Josh Clarke, who smashed his personal best to reign supreme with 10.19 (1.1m/s). That performance was the fastest by an Australian for five years, moving him into the top 10 on the national all-time list.
Fiji’s Banuve Tabakaucoro set a national record of 10.26 to finish second, with Alex Hartmann taking the bronze in 10.30.
Two-time Commonwealth champion Alana Boyd broke the meeting record in the pole vault, winning with 4.60m in front of her home crowd. She went on to take three attempts at 4.70m.
Nicholas Hough, the 2012 world junior silver medallist, stormed home in the final of the men’s 110m hurdles to set a personal best of 13.42 (1.5m/s), securing his automatic selection on to the team for Beijing.
Lauren Wells won a record eighth gold medal in the women’s 400m hurdles at the Australian Championships, winning in 56.51 to better to number of national titles won in this event by Debbie Flintoff-King.
Dani Samuels also added another national victory to her growing collection. A throw of 64.44m in the discus landed the 2009 world champion with her 10h national crown and confirmed her fifth consecutive appearance at the IAAF World Championships.
“I’m really excited for the European season now, and then on to the World Championships,” said Samuels. “That’s the next big thing.”
Competing as a guest, South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen won the javelin comfortably with 63.29m. In second place, Kim Mickle won the national title and gained automatic World Championships selection with 61.02m.
Robbie Crowther won the men’s long jump with a season’s best of 8.05m (0.5m/s). In a competitive competition, Japan’s Yohei Sugai finished second with 8.00m and 16-year-old national junior champion Darcy Roper leapt a world-youth-leading 7.91m to take third.
In the women’s event, 30-year- old Chelsea Jaensch won her first natinal title with a wind-assisted leap of 6.74m, backing up her recent PB of 6.63m set last month.
New Zealand’s two-time world junior champion Jacko Gill, now 20, set a PB of 20.75m to win the men’s shot put.
Throwing 80.00m, Matt Outzen reigned supreme in the men’s javelin, beating Commonwealth bronze medallist Hamish Peacock by 45 centimetres.
Elsewhere in the field, Julian Wruck threw 62.03m to win the men’s discus, while Brandon Starc leapt 2.28m to win the men’s high jump. Both athletes did enough to book their spot on Australia’s team for Beijing.
Athletics Australia for the IAAF