A group of Aussies have been in good form across the weekend in two meets in Asia. On Saturday, Shanghai hosted the second leg of the Diamond League circuit, while today Osaka was the venue for the Seiko Golden Grand Prix.
The highlight was the continued return to form by Sally Pearson. After her strong relay legs at the IAAF World Relays last weekend, today in Osaka she returned to the event she has been world and Olympic champion at, the 100m hurdles. Running stride for stride with American Sharika Nelvis, Pearson placed second in the same time of 12.70 (0.4) – her fastest time for 15 months. Pearson’s time was also well under the Tokyo Olympic standard of 12.84 seconds.
Earlier in the program Commonwealth Games medallist Brooke Stratton overcame difficult winds to win the long jump with a solid leap of 6.66m (0.2).
“It was pretty tough out there as the wind was really swirly,” said Stratton. “I have the worst luck with winds, every time I would get on the runway there was a tailwind while they were raking, then when they take the cone off it would be a head wind.”
Stratton drew upon her wealth of experience to take the win.
“I tried to stay relaxed on the runway, try and let it happen and got a decent jump out on my last attempt. I like a challenge so when Alina Rotaru from Romania hit the lead after round three I knew I had to jump further. “
In the men’s 4x100m relay, the team of Trae Williams, Alex Hartmann, Zach Holdsworth and Jake Doran finished fourth with 39.17, just outside the time of 39.05 they clocked at the world relays.
National 200m leader Nana Owusu-Afriye was fifth in the 200m in 23.34, a time only she amongst Aussies has bettered in 2019. James Nipperess ran a seasonal best of 8:40.57 for ninth in the steeplechase. Also, Josh Ralph was fifth in the 800m (1:47.23), Brittany McGowan eighth 800m (2:09.06), Steven Solomon fifth 400m (47.16), Alex Beck sixth 400m (47.31) and Hamish Peacock seventh javelin (75.10m).
Shanghai Diamond League
Defending Diamond League high jump champion, Brandon Starc opened his 2019 campaign with a promising clearance of 2.25m, to placed equal fourth at the Shanghai Diamond League.
Kelsey Barber threw a solid 61.40m in round three of the javelin to claim sixth place.
Making her Diamond League debut, Georgia Griffith clocked a quick time of 4:05.39 – her second fastest ever and the all important world championships qualifier. Pace maker for the race, Morgan Mitchell took the field through in 65 (400m) and left the track between 700m and 800m after passing 700m in 1:53.7.