Robinson throws his way to Rio 2016, as Samuels & Lapierre deliver podium finishes in Shanghai

It has been a big day for Australian athletics, with Joshua Robinson (Qld) staking his claim for Rio 2016 selection in Perth (WA), as Dani Samuels (NSW) and Fabrice Lapierre (NSW) delivered podium finishes at the IAAF Diamond League in Shanghai (CHN).

Competing in the men’s javelin, Robinson, a two-time national champion and Commonwealth Games finalist, threw 85.11m to improve his personal best and take victory.

The biggest throw by an Australian in more than eight years, Robinson is excited to be back at his best after an interrupted 2015 due to knee surgery that impeded his ability to compete on the world stage.

“I had a look at the video after the throw and it looked amazing. I’m over the moon. I started working with my coach Richard Brockett in 1999 and over an almost 18-year journey we’ve improved from a 45-metre best effort to this,” Robinson said.

“Today is my second competition over here in Perth. I came over for a bit of training with the throwers here, hit an 82-metre effort last weekend and have improved to 85.11m today. It’s been a great few weeks.

“The excitement aside, nobody is going to remember this performance at the Olympic Games. This is a great start to a Rio 2016 preparation but the hard work is still to come.”

Equally impressive in Shanghai (CHN) was Samuels, with the Rio 2016 selected national champion throwing 67.77m, her third best ever, to place second in the women’s discus behind world champion Sandra Perkovic (CRO).

Samuels’ series was consistent, with an opening round throw of 64.00m followed by her only foul before marks of 62.85m, 64.65m, 64.27m and her biggest effort to close. She will now return to Australia for continued training ahead of further competition in Europe in July.

Not to be outdone, Lapierre soared to 8.09m (w: +0.7) in the final round of the men’s long jump to secure his spot among the top-three behind Xinglong Gao (CHN, first, 8.14m) and Rushwal Samaai (RSA, second, 8.14m).

Lapierre’s success continues an impressive year for the 32-year-old, with his 2016 trophy cabinet also including an IAAF World Indoor Championships silver medal and the national crown thanks to an 8.27m leap in Sydney (NSW). He will now travel to Rabat (MAR) for Round 3 of the IAAF Diamond League on Sunday 22 May.

In other results at Round 2 of the IAAF Diamond League:
– Clocking 10.40 (w: +1.0), Jack Hale (Tas) placed 5th in the pre-meet men’s 100m. Returning for the 4x100m relay, Hale alongside Brandon Herrigan (Qld), Cameron Searle (NSW) and Trae Williams (Qld) ran 39.62. The time is the third fastest ever by the Australian boy’s under 20 team.
– Taking to the runway after an 83.53m personal best throw at the Golden Grand Prix in Kawasaki (JPN) last weekend, Hamish Peacock (Tas) placed 5th in the men’s javelin with a throw of 82.28m. His three attempt series also included marks of 81.18m and 80.82m.
– Zoe Buckman (Vic), who made the women’s 1500m final at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, crossed the line in 4:10.28 to place 11th in the women’s 1500m.
– Madeline Hills (NSW) lined up for the women’s 3000m steeplechase, but did not finish. She will now return to Australia for training before embarking on a European campaign ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

To view and download results from Round 2 of the IAAF Diamond League, please click here.

Competition for Olympic Games bound athletes continues tomorrow, with marathoners Michael Shelley (Qld) and Lisa Weightman (Vic) among the thousands of participants at the Sydney Morning Half Marathon in Sydney (NSW).

For more information on this event, please click here.

Athletics Australia Under 17 Development Squad gather for camp in Canberra
Closer to home, 72 up and coming athletes are this week gathered in Canberra (ACT), with the nation’s capital to playing host to the 2016 Athletics Australia Under 17 Development Squad camp.

Spanning four days in the plentiful facilities of the Australian Institute of Sport, the camp, which welcomes both able-bodied and para-athletes, is also attended by more than forty personal coaches taking part in training program development sessions alongside Athletics Australia’s National Junior and Para-Athletics Coaches.

“The Under 17 Squad is the first interaction Athletics Australia has with developing talent from across the country, and it is some of these athletes that we envisage as possible starters on the teams headed to the IAAF World Under 18 Championships and the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017,” Sara Mulkearns, the Athletics Australia Junior High Performance Manager, said.