Hobart has been declared the home of shot put after record breaking performances by both Damien Birkinhead and Todd Hodgetts at the Briggs Athletics Classic.
Throwing a meet record, personal best and Rio 2016 qualifier, Birkinhead’s best mark of 21.21m moves him to second on the Australian All-Time List at just five centimetres shy of the impressive national record held by his coach Scott Martin.
The monster throw would have seen the 22-year-old place fourth at the London 2012 Olympic Games and continues the meteoric start to his summer of athletics after hurling a then career best and Olympic standard of 20.80m in Christchurch last week.
“It’s unbelievable really. Last week my PB was 20.40m and now I’ve thrown 21.21m. I have had an amazing seven days. I didn’t imagine I’d be throwing like this right now. I’m honestly speechless,” Birkinhead said.
“We’ve set my program to sort of peak around now and through to Nationals. I’m in a good routine and have built up over time to where I am now. To see these results is a real boost after the work we’ve put in.”
“I was probably a bit hot headed in the first round, but Scotty told me to relax and refocus from there and then I found myself out past 21(metres). It just got better and better.”
Not to be outdone, Hodgett’s best effort of 16.33m improves the F20 para-athletics world record for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
Continuing the form that saw him win gold at the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships, the reigning Paralympic champion has continued success in his sights this season as he prepares for Rio 2016.
“I didn’t think it went that far. It felt like a terrible throw, I thought I’d missed hitting it right, so to see the mark was great. There’s bigger things to come for sure. It’s great,” Hodgetts said.
“I don’t think a world record has been broken in athletics in Tasmania so to lay claim to that is pretty amazing.”
In other field results, the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Hamish Peacock threw 80.12m in the final round to take victory in the men’s javelin. He will next compete at the Canberra Track Classic on Saturday 20 February.