On Top of the World – Stratton Moves to a Whole New Level 

How do you describe Brooke Stratton’s 7.05m (+2.0) at the Perth Track Classic on Saturday night – simply unbelievable! When you think that the 22 year-old has reached a peak (e.g her 6.94m PB at the Canberra Track Classic), she simply smashes down that barrier and moves the marker. The problem now is that she doesn’t quite know where to place the next marker – as her career goal of ‘one day’ jumping over 7.00m has already become reality – all at such a young age.

Brooke Stratton - simply amazing in Perth and well ahead of her own career schedule (image courtesy of Athletics Australia)
Brooke Stratton – simply amazing in Perth and well ahead of her own career schedule (image courtesy of Athletics Australia)

The simple fact is that, as stupid as it sounds, it will now become more about medals at major championships than jumping further than her 7.05m PB. This all starts at the World Indoor Championships next weekend where Stratton will come up against quality opposition in what will be a good indication of where she is placed leading into the Rio Olympics.

At 1.55pm (AEST) on Saturday Stratton will take on the likes of Shara Proctor of Great Britain – who was the silver medallist at the 2015 World Outdoor Championships in Beijing when jumping a NR of 7.07m. Proctor is a seasoned campaigner and a perfect competitor for Stratton – another marker for Stratton to see if she’s ready for even bigger things in Rio.

Greater Consistency

The biggest change for Stratton over the past 12 months is her amazing consistency in all competitions. Only a couple of years ago she would have been happy to jump consistently at around 6.40m – 6.50m, now that has moved to a whole new level. In Perth she had a series of 6.71m (+4.4), 7.05m (+2.0) WL,PB, 6.69m (+3.2), 6.82m (+2.5), 6.79m (+2.2) and  6.84m (+1.9). That series in itself is world class at the highest level, and would place her in medal contention at any major world championships – including at an Olympic Games.

The only difference now is that everybody will know who Brooke Stratton is when she flies into Portland, USA for the World Indoor Championships. The media will want to know her story, they will ask her what her expectations are and how she will cope with being one of the favourites for the competition. This all coming less than 12 months after missing the women’s long jump final at the Beijing World Championships. This is the new challenge for Stratton, not jumping further but the higher expectations placed on her by the athletics media worldwide. We can only sit back and see how she performs with this added pressure – but seeing her in action we suggest that her mental strength is only matched by her amazing ability to jump really long distances!

Facts and Stats from Stratton’s 7.05m AR

  • Breaks the previous Australian record held by Bronwyn Thompson of 7.00m (Melbourne, 2002)
  • Moves her up to =45th on the World All-Time ranking list
  • Moves her to within 11cm’s of the Commonwealth Record – held by Elva Goulbourne at 7.16mA (Mexico City, 2004)
  • Moves to her no.3 on the Commonwealth All-Time list behind Goulbourne and Proctor
  • Ranks her at no.1 in the world, both indoors and out in 2016
  • Scored her a massive 1,215pts on the IAAF scoring tables (this is equivalent to a 10.93s 100m and a 3.58.88 1500m)

Can the Night Get Any Better? 

The crowd would have gone home pretty happy after seeing Stratton’s magical 7.05m AR, but the excitement didn’t end there. The U/20 men’s 100m final (part of the Australian Junior Championships) was perfectly placed as part of the main programme at the Pert Track Classic, and the final didn’t disappoint.

New Australian All-Time Junior Ranking List – Men’s 100m


It was billed as the race of the Australian Junior Championships (apart from maybe the men’s 1500m – see our extended review of the this and other events from the Australian Juniors later this week). The line up was simply one of the best we had seen, with Trae Williams (10.32), Jack Hale (10.38s) and Nicholas Andrews (10.39s) all coming into the race in red hot form. Many people were talking about the Australian Junior record (held by Matt Shirvington at 10.29s) being broken, and expectations were high for a special race.

As usual we were witness to a super start from Williams, but then Hale took over and looked the winner until the very last section of the race. Some would say that Hale tightened up in the concluding stages, but when it comes down to it Williams (10.27s AJR, +1.2), Hale (10.31s) and Andrews (10.39s =PB) had met all pre-race hype – and delivered on all levels.

We now have two genuine 100m contenders going into the World U/20 Championships in Poland, with both Williams and Hale sure to do Australia proud in July. We will also surely have a very fast 4x100m team, capable of closing in on a medal. Hopefully one day we will see Williams, Hale and Andrews join Josh Clarke in a senior 4x100m team at a future Olympic Games!

Perth Track Classic – Additional Notes

  • Peter Bol was back to his best with a strong 800m – coming home in 1.46.68 (only just outside his best of 1.46.51 and closing in on the OQ time of 1.46.00). In the same race Alex Rowe attacked from the front and tried to stay with David Rudisha – but faded to finish in 1.49.06. (ed. hard to see where he will find the 1.46.00 required for Rio – we can only hope that he finds the magical formula leading into the Nationals at the end of the month).
  • Men_Junior_PoleVaultKurtis Marschall continued on from his record breaking performances at the Australian Junior Championships by again clearing 5.50m in the men’s pole vault. It was the second time he has jumped this height, and is currently at no.4 on the Australian All-Time junior ranking list – behind Paul Burgess (5.60m), James Miller (5.55m) and Blake Lucas (5.55m).
  • In the same competition, junior Declan Carruthers cleared a new PB of 5.40m but could amazingly miss out on representing Australia at this years World U/20 Championships.
  • Alwyn Jones continues to push for Rio selection with another quality triple jump competition. His 16.59m jump was the 31 year-old’s 9th best jump of his career and was within 16cm’s of the Olympic qualifier.
  • Hamish Peacock is surely going to Rio, he’s just not quite getting to the OQ of 83.00. This time it was a SB of 82.81m – just 19cm’s shy of the qualifying mark.
  • Selma Kajan (2.02.26) and Lora Storey (2.02.68) produced a quality women’s 800m in Perth, with Kajan now moving within reach of the Olympic qualifier of 2.01.50, with her fastest time on Australian soil. Storey now has to make a decision on which event she will tackle at the upcoming Australian Championships – the 800m or the women’s 400m hurdles.
  • Brianna Beahan is also making her charge at the Olympic qualifying time in the women’s 100m hurdles. A PB of 13.17s entering the competition was lowered to 13.11s (+1.1) – now only 0.11s away from the magical qualifying mark.
  • Liz Parnov is yet another athlete closing in on a Rio qualifier in the women’s pole vault. Another 3 unsuccessful attempts at the mark (4.50m) was after a SB of 4.40m was achieved. She is on the right path – and ready for that next height and a ticket to her second Olympic Games.
  • Chelsea Jaensch’s results are getting lost in the amazing jumping feats of Stratton, but there is no doubt that she is also jumping quality distances in 2016. Two wind assisted marks of 6.67m and 6.69m were again testament to how far she has come over the past 2 years.
  • Kathryn Mitchell again showed her excellent 2016 form with a quality 63.95m meeting record throw (after a SB of 64.37m in Melbourne). This was her 5th best throw of her career and continues to show that she has great prospects heading into Rio.

Watch out for our complete wrap up of the Australian Junior Championships, including a look at the final Australian team for the World U/20 Championships in Poland in July.