Zoe Buckman (Vic) has staked her maiden claim for selection to the Australian Flame team that will compete at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing (CHN).
Taking to the start line in an impressive women’s 1500m on day two of the Prefontaine Classic, the 26-year-old showed no signs of the calf strain that forced her withdrawal from the IAAF World Relays, crossing the line in 4:06.30 as Jenny Simpson (USA) set a world lead of 4:00.98 to win.
The performance is Buckman’s quickest since the British Athletics Grand Prix in Glasgow (SCO) in July 2014 and follows an extended stint of training at altitude in Laguna (USA). She is scheduled to race the 1500m again at Round 5 of the IAAF Diamond League in Birmingham (GBR) next weekend, before taking to the start line in Oslo (NOR) alongside Commonwealth Games representative Melissa Duncan (Vic) shortly after.
At the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow (RUS), Buckman became the first ever Australian woman to compete in the 1500m final, securing her spot on the start list after winning both her heat and the semi-final.
Ryan Gregson (NSW) joined Buckman on track in Eugene (USA) today, with the national 1500m record holder starting in the men’s International Mile.
One of ten to break the 4-minute barrier, Gregson, who earlier this month won bronze in the distance medley relay at the IAAF World Relays, stopped the clock at 3:56.78 to cross 6th in a sprint finish behind Ben Blankenship (USA, first, 3:55.72).
To view and download results from the Prefontaine Classic, which doubles as Round 3 of the IAAF Diamond League, please click here.
In other Australian results overnight, Damien Birkinhead (Vic) has reigned supreme in the men’s shot put at the Memorial Leon Buyle in Oordegem (BEL).
The 22-year-old threw 20.17m on his fourth attempt to take victory from Remco Goetheer (NED, second, 17.49m) and Jurgen Verbrugghe (BEL, third, 17.21m). Birkinhead’s series also included throws of 19.86m and 19.19, as well as three fouls, with the performance following back-to-back second place finishes at the Ostrava Golden Spike (20.07m) and Riga Cup (19.75m) in the past fortnight.
Birkinhead won bronze at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona (ESP) and last year made his Australian Flame debut at the Commonwealth Games, placing 5th with a throw of 19.59m. He is a three-time Australian champion.
Attention now turns to Round 4 of the IAAF Diamond League in Rome (ITA) this Thursday 4 June, with Dani Samuels (NSW, discus throw) and Sally Pearson (Qld, 100m hurdles) to fly the Australian flag.
For more information on the Golden Gala at Stadium Olimpico, please click here.