The talented junior Matthew Denny (Qld) has become the youngest ever Australian hammer throw champion after he threw 69.15m to win gold at the 93rd Australian Athletics Championships in Brisbane (Qld) today.
Taking to the cage for what was a straight final, the two-time IAAF World Youth Championships medallists Denny hit his winning mark, which fell just short of the personal best he threw at the IAAF Melbourne World Challenge, with his first attempt before continuing through his series with back-to-back fouls, a 68.66m throw, a 67.34m throw and a 67.34m mark to close.
Denny is 18-years-old, with today’s win delivering him his first open age Australian title. The performance follows his three gold medals in the shot put, discus and hammer throw at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships two weeks ago.
“To get over the 69 metres mark was something that I am pretty happy with. I’ve come away with my first national title, which is great, and now I can rest up and get ready for the discus tomorrow,” Denny said.
“I had a couple of issues before comp, but what happens then you have just to forget about and I was still able to throw pretty decent which is a great thing.”
In the women’s hammer throw final, Commonwealth Games finalist Lara Neilsen (Qld) improved her personal best to 66.37m to win her second consecutive national title from Alex Hulley (NSW, second, 63.61m) and Kaysanne Hockey (Qld, third, 59.13m).
Joining Denny on the list of highlights from day two of the Australian Athletics Championships was para-athlete Brydee Moore (Vic), who bettered the world record for her F33 cerebral palsy class secured javelin.
Throwing 10.59m, two centimetres beyond the previous best ever mark, Moore’s performance gives her great confidence ahead of the shot put tomorrow, with this event the one she is chasing selection for at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
“It was awesome. I wasn’t expecting to throw like I did, so it’s amazing. We used to be able to throw in a different way, but in the event now we are completely restricted from using our legs so I thought it would take some time to reach the distances that I had been. It’s very early, and it’s a great surprise,” Moore said.
Competing in the qualifying round of the able-bodied women’s javelin, all of national record holder Kim Mickle (WA, 55.23m), the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT, 56.48m) and international starters Victoria Peeters (NZL, 52.50m), Sunette Viljoen (RSA, 61.29m) and Leigh Petranoff (USA, 54.31m) progressed to the final on Saturday afternoon after throwing beyond the auto-advance mark of 52.00m.
The quintet will be joined by a further five athletes, including IAAF World Youth Championships gold medallist Mackenzie Little (NSW), who opened her season here at the Australian Athletics Championships with a throw of 51.32m.
Joining Mickle in the finals for their events are her Australian Flame teammates Jeff Riseley(Vic, 1500m), Ryan Gregson (NSW, 1500m), Collis Birmingham (Vic, 1500m), Brittany McGowan(Qld, 800m), Katherine Katsanevakis (Vic, 800m), Kelly Hetherington (Vic, 800m), Henry Frayne(Qld, long jump), Robbie Crowther (Qld, long jump), Craig Burns (Qld, 400m) and Alex Beck(Qld, 400m).
Riseley was the first past the post in the opening heat of the men’s 1500m, taking victory in a time of 3:46.19 from his training partner Zak Patterson (Vic, second, 3:46.36), before Josh Wright (NSW, 3:45.11) won heat two from Marc See (WA, second, 3:45.63) and Birmingham (third, 3:45.35). Gregson stopped the clock at 3:45.19 to win the last of three heats.
Competing in the women’s 800m, McGowan capably contended with a large field to cross in 2:08.92 and win the first of three heats. Selma Kajan (Vic, 2:05.26) was victorious in the next race from Alicia Keir (NSW, second, 2:05.92) and Hetherington (third, 2:06.46), while Katsanevakis reigned supreme in heat three in 2:07.16.
The final for both the men’s 1500m and the women’s 800m will be held on Sunday.
Frayne was the seventh athlete to jump in his qualifying pool for the men’s long jump and with a performance of 7.73m on his first attempt he barely broke a sweat before automatically advancing to the final. Leaping to 7.63m in the second qualifying group, Crowther’s performance sees him ranked fourth from the ten starters who have progressed to contend for the gold medal on Sunday.
Competition also commenced in the men’s and women’s 100m, with swirling winds delivering frustrating conditions for many of the starters.
The national record holder Melissa Breen (ACT) was the first to advance to the semi-final in the women’s event, stopping the clock at 11.50 (w: +0.3) to win the first heat from Abbie Taddeo(NSW, second, 11.97) and Michelle Cutmore (Qld, third, 12.08). The next heat saw the wind swing to a headwind, with Olympic hurdles champion Sally Pearson (Qld) the winner in 11.63 (w: -0.7).
Glasgow 2014 starter Ash Whittaker (Vic) took line honours in heat three in 11.63 (w: +1.1), while Toea Wisil (Qld/PNG) won heat four in 11.62 (w: -1.3) from Youth Olympic Games representative Sam Geddes (NSW, second, 12.00).
International starter Banuve Tabakaucoro (FIJ, 10.41) progresses to the semi-final as fastest in the men’s 100m event, with Sydney Track Classic winner Joshua Clarke (NSW, 10.44) and Australian under 20 champion Trae Williams (Qld, 10.54) hot on his heels.
In the men’s 400m, Burns and Beck crossed first and second in the third semi-final. The duo clocked 46.83 and 46.86 respectively and will launch from the blocks in the round-of-eight tomorrow.
In other results from day two of the Australian Athletics Championships:
– Celeste Mucci (Vic) ensured her automatic selection to the Australian team for the IAAF World Youth Championships by winning the girl’s under 18 heptathlon event with a point score of 5430 points. Clocking a personal best of 2:35.91 in the 800m to ensure her qualification, the 17-year-old’s seven event series also included a 13.60 run in the 100m hurdles, a 1.68m leap in the high jump, throws of 12.84m and 36.66m in the shot put and javelin respectively, a 25.45 run in the 200m and a 5.76m effort in the long jump.
– A seven-time national champion, Lauren Wells (ACT) ran 56.41 to win the third and final heat of the women’s 400m hurdles and advance as fastest to the final on Sunday. She was the only athlete to break the 57-second barrier and her start here follows her maiden qualifier for the event of 56.19 at the IAAF Melbourne World Challenge last weekend.
– Competing for the first time this Australian Athletics Tour, Tristan Thomas (Tas) was first past the post in the third heat of the men’s 400m hurdles in a time of 51.17. He will start as fastest in the final alongside Cameron French (NZL, 51.77) and Tetsuya Tatano (JPN, 51.79).
– Dane Bird-Smith (Qld) stopped the clock at 39:53.89 to win the men’s 10,000m walk, while the women’s race saw Tanya Holliday (SA) take home the national title in a time of 44:56.54.
– Bringing to a close two huge days of competition, David Brock (Vic) was crowned national decathlon champion with a final point score of 7733 points. The silver medal was won by Kyle Cranston (NSW, 7629 points), while Brent Newdick (NZL, 7136 points) won the bronze.
The 93rd Australian Athletics Championships continue in Brisbane (Qld) tomorrow.