Lauren Wells (ACT) has delivered a podium finish in the women’s 400m hurdles at Round 10 of the IAAF Diamond League in Lausanne (SUI), as Dane Bird-Smith (Qld) and Naa Anang (Qld) opened the athletics medal account at the World University Games in Gwangju (KOR).
Stopping the clock at 56.25, her third fastest time this year, the 26-year-old finished third behind winner Sara Petersen (DEN, 55.01) on a busy morning for the Australia that also saw Dani Samuels (NSW) throw 64.59m in the discus throw, Hamish Peacock among the top-eight in the men’s javelin and Genevieve LaCaze (Qld) run 9:43.17 in the women’s 3000m steeplechase.
Wells made the decision to compete in Europe before the Australian Flame team camp for the IAAF World Championships after success on an earlier international jaunt to Kawasaki (JPN) in May. Performances then highlighted her desire to encounter strong competition before the world titles, where she has aspirations for a finish in the top-eight.
She will next compete in Luzern (SUI) next weekend, where she will be joined by Collis Birmingham (Vic, 3000m), Brett Robinson (Vic, 3000m) and Alana Boyd (Qld, pole vault).
Samuels’ best effort of 64.59m came in the fourth round and saw the Commonwealth champion finish narrowly outside the top-three as Yaimi Perez (CUB, first) threw a personal best of 67.13m to win. The result sits alongside a trio of podium finishes for Samuels as part of the IAAF Diamond League this season, including a 65.47m throw for second in Rome (ITA) last month.
With a mark of 79.49m in round three, Peacock finished eighth in the men’s javelin throw. His series also included efforts of 77.64m, 79.23m, 77.33m, 74.93m and 76.49m, with victory taken by Keshorn Welcott (TTO), who threw a huge 90.16m.
Round 10 of the IAAF Diamond League follows the start of athletics competition at the World University Games and the arrival of Australia’s IAAF World Youth Championships team to a training camp in Miami (USA).
In Gwangju (KOR), Bird-Smith opened a great day for athletics by winning GOLD in a time of1:21:30 in the men’s 20km walk. Edging ahead for victory in a hard-fought battle for the top of the podium spot, Bird-Smith was victorious by only three seconds from Benjamin Thorne (CAN, second, 1:21:33), as Daisuke Matsunaga (JPN, third, 1:22:06) won bronze.
“We worked hard through most of the race, I was pulling the pace for all of them and they just sat behind me and I said if they just want to sit and chase then I’ll race them my way. It played into my hands really for the last 5km,” Bird-Smith said.
“There was a quite a rise on each lap, and I was starting to cramp pulling myself up it each lap. But I was able to hang in there for the final sprint, which is what I love to do.”
Bird-Smith’s effort was followed by a BRONZE medal to Anang in the women’s long jump and starts in the men’s and women’s 100m finals by Jin Su Jung (NSW, 7th, 10.33) and Ashleigh Whittaker (Vic, 6th, 11.64).
Anang burst into the medal calculations with an equal PB in round one of 6.36m (w: +1.8) before improving to a whopping 6.55m (w: +1.3) in round two to move into the silver medal spot. Anna Jagaciak (POL) was hot on her heels and improved to 6.57m in round four, shuffling Anang back to bronze, as the gold went to Luliia Pudluzhnaia (RUS) with 6.79m.
“Wow, that was so amazing, I can’t believe that just happened,” a beaming Anang said.
For more information on results at the World University Games, please click here.
Acclimatising to the time zone and making final preparations for competition, the 21-strong squad for Cali 2015, including Jack Hale (Tas, 100m, 200m), Darcy Roper (Qld, long jump) and Danielle Shaw (Vic, 100m hurdles), is based at the University of Miami.
The squad will for the coming three nights train at the world-class college facility before descending on the host city for five days of competition against the best under 18 aged athletes from across the globe.
To learn more about the sprints and hurdles squad, including Hale, Louis Stenmark (NSW, 400m) and Brandon Herrigan (Qld, 110m hurdles), please click here.
To learn more about the jumps contingent, including Roper and Phillipa Hajdasz (Vic, pole vault), please click here.