Top-three finishes to Kim Mickle (WA, javelin) and Fabrice Lapierre (NSW, long jump) have guaranteed a day of success for Australia at Round 9 of the IAAF Diamond League in Paris (FRA).
Continuing the countdown to the IAAF World Championships in Beijing (CHN) next month, which will bring to a crescendo a stunning year of international athletics, today’s event delivered Mickle’s first competitive outing in Europe as she prepares to defend the silver medal she won at Moscow 2013 two years ago.
Mickle threw 63.80m in the penultimate round of the women’s javelin to ensure her second place behind winner Barbora Spotakova (CZE, 64.42m). Her series also included an opening round throw of 62.48m, before 62.49m, two consecutive fouls, her best mark and 62.24m to close.
The national javelin record holder, Mickle has now delivered a podium finish at every event she has competed in 2015, including victory at the Jandakot City Track Classic in Perth (WA) and at the Australian Athletics Championships to ensure her Beijing 2015 selection. Her throw of 66.57m at the IAAF Melbourne World Challenge was just 23 centimetres shy of her personal best and ranks her second in the world this year behind Sunette Viljoen (RSA).
Ensuring his podium position finish with a leap of 8.07m (w: -1.2) in the second last round, Lapierre was forced to duel with unfavourable weather conditions in the men’s long jump as the wind swirled between both a head and tail wind across the six round event. Opening his account with 7.71m (w: -0.6), the two-time Commonwealth Games medallist soared 7.65m (w: -0.3) in the second round, before his only foul, a 7.86m (w: +1.8) leap, his best mark and 7.76m (w: 0.0) to close.
It was Lapierre’s first start at an IAAF Diamond League event since London Anniversary Games in July 2013, with the performance sitting alongside his season best leap of 8.21m (w: +2.5) to win at the Meeting Internationale in Marseille (FRA) and his Beijing 2015 qualifying performance of 8.16m (w: +1.7) in Chula Vista (USA).
The IAAF Diamond League now moves to Lausanne (SUI) on 9 July. Both Lauren Wells (ACT, 400m hurdles) and Genevieve LaCaze (Qld, 3000m steeplechase) will start on track, while Dani Samuels (NSW, discus) and Hamish Peacock (Tas, javelin) will throw.