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By Georgia! 800m Bronze for Wassall

Friday, 25 July 2014 | Anonym

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Georgia Wassall (NSW) won bronze and Nina Kennedy (WA) equalled the Australian Junior and Youth records in the pole vault providing the highlights of an exciting evening of athletics on Day 3 of the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

In the 800m, Wassall ran 2.02.71s, to finish third behind Margaret Nyairera Wambui of Kenya who upset race-favourite Sahily Diago of Cuba with a winning time of 2:00.49s. The Australian was ecstatic with the result.

"I can't believe it. I ran perfectly and I am really, really happy. My coach Kevin Wills and I thought it would be fast, but my plan was to run at a pace I was comfortable with.” said Wassall who ran her third-fastest ever time, behind her lifetime best of 2.01.78s set when finishing  runner-up to world champion Eunice Sum (Kenya) at the Sydney Track Classic earlier in the year.

"When I held on for bronze I thought, wow, I did it” said Wassall, whose performance was the second-best in the event behind Georgie Clarke’s silver medal in 2000.

Another Australian, Georgia Griffith (NSW) placed fourth, in 2.04.12 just 12 hundredths of a second outside the lifetime best she set in the semi-finals.

In the pole vault, West Australian Nina Kennedy equalled the Australian Junior and Youth Records with a leap of 4.40m, finishing fourth behind Russian Alena Lutkovskaya who won with a new championship record of 4.50m.

The 17 year-old Australian, had briefly hit the lead when she cleared 4.40m on her first attempt, while Desiree Freier (USA) and Eliza McCartney (NZL) need two attempts, as the Russian passed.  At 4.45m, Kennedy had three misses whilst the Russian, American and New Zealander went clear. Still, it was a night to celebrate for the West Australian. 

"I felt great out there. All the factors came together and they worked in my favour.” said Kennedy.

"I did the best I can and in the end I didn’t medal, but I got 4.40m and two PBs, I am so, so happy”.

The Australian’s leap matched the records of her training partners Liz and Vicky Parnov set in 2010 and 2007 respectively. Amazingly, all the three women are coached by pole vault-mastermind Alex Parnov, the man who mentored Steve Hooker to World and Olympic titles.

Kennedy is still eligible for the next edition of the championships and was looking forward to the opportunity. 

"I am in the youngest age group so maybe I can come back in Kazan and medal there."

In the 1500m, Zak Patterson set a lifetime best of  3:44.21 for fifth, equalling the best ever performance by an Australian in the event at these championships. .

Jessica Hull (NSW) ran the race of her life in the 3000m, placing 7th in a lifetime best, which shattered her best by more than 20 seconds.

Earlier in the day, Filoi Aokuso (NSW) in the discus, Stella Radford (Vic) in the 3000m steeplechase and Aliyah Johnston (Qld) in the triple jump, all set lifetime bests to qualify for their respective finals. Meanwhile, Jack Hicking (NSW) soared into the final of the pole vault with a leap of 5.20m, just 6cm below his best. 

Matt Denny (Qld), surprisingly failed to qualify for the final of the men’s hammer throw. The 19 year-old threw 69.16m to finish 23rd. The Queenslander returns tomorrow in his favourite event, the discus, in which he won World Youth gold in Donetsk last year.

Evening Session Report

Georgia Wassall (NSW) won bronze in the 800m and Nina Kennedy (WA) equalled the Australian Junior and Youth records in the pole vault, providing the highlights of an exciting evening of athletics on Day 3 of the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Wassall ran 2.02.71s, to finish third behind Margaret Nyairera Wambui of Kenya who upset race-favourite Sahily Diago of Cuba with a winning time of 2:00.49s.

The Australian, ranked fourth on times coming in, was ecstatic with the result.

"I can't believe it. I ran perfectly and I am really really happy. My coach Kevin Wills and I thought it would be fast, but my plan was to run at a pace I was comfortable with.” said Wassall.

The Australian ran her third-fastest ever time, less than a second outside her lifetime best of 2.01.78s set when finishing runner-up to world champion Eunice Sum (Kenya) at the Sydney Track Classic earlier this year.

"When I held on for bronze, I thought, wow, I did it” said Wassall, whose performance in the event was the second-best ever behind Georgie Clarke’s, silver medal in 2000.

Georgia Griffith (Vic) placed fourth, in 2.04.12s just 12 hundredths of a second outside the lifetime best she set in the semi-finals. The Victorian was overwhelmed with the effort "I'm pretty excited about it all, but I think I am in shock because I am so tired. I am over the moon and couldn't be happier"

In the pole vault, West Australian Nina Kennedy equalled the Australian Junior and Youth Records with a leap of 4.40m, finishing fourth behind Russian Alena Lutkovskaya who won with a new championship record of 4.50m.

The 17 year-old Australian had briefly hit the lead when she cleared 4.40m on her first attempt, while Desiree Freier (USA) and Eliza McCartney (NZL) need two attempts, and the Russian passed. At 4.45m, Kennedy had three misses whilst the Russian, American and New Zealander went clear. Still, it was a night to celebrate for the West Australian.

"I felt great out there. All the factors came together and they worked in my favour.” said Kennedy.

"I did the best I can and in the end I didn’t medal, but I got 4.40m and two PBs, I am so, so happy”.

The Australian’s leap matched the records of her training partners Liz and Vicky Parnov set in 2010 and 2007 respectively. Amazingly all the three women are coached by pole vault-mastermind Alex Parnov, the man who mentored Steve Hooker to Olympic and World titles.

Kennedy is still eligible for the next edition of the championships and was looking forward to the opportunity.

"I am in the youngest age group so maybe I can come back in Kazan and medal there."

Victorian Zak Patterson set a lifetime best of 3:44.21 for fifth in the 1500m, equalling the best ever performance by an Australian over 1500m at these championships.

“A personal best in a rough race, a slow race, at a championships shows I am in great shape.” said Patterson whose previous best was 3:44.75."

The Australian moved with the pace and made some smart tactical moves and rallied over last 200m. "I tucked on the back of the German bloke and at 200m I went bang."

Jessica Hull (NSW) ran the race of her life in the 3000m, placing 7th in a lifetime best of 9.08.85s, which shattered her best by more than 20 seconds. Hull approached the race with confidence, saying

“I can’t believe it. Beforehand I thought, I’m here, what can I possibly do. I thought, I am going to go and hang in there with the rest of the girls. 600 to go I felt great. The crowd down the back straight was amazing.” said Hull.

In the 200m, Victorian Maddie Coates, improved her lifetime best to 23.91s (wind +1.4), when placing fourth in her semi-final. The youngest member of the Australian team at 16 years placed 13th overall and will still be eligible for Kazan, Russia in two years time.

“I am over the moon. I got a great start, absolutely the best I have even done. At only 16 I made a semi at worlds."

Another youngster, Emma Philippe (WA) pulled out of the women’s pole vault final with a hip injury. The West Australian is only 17 years-old making her eligible for the next edition of the championships.

Emily Lawson (Vic) ran 55.33s for sixth in her semi-final of the 400m, not enough to progress to the final. The time was 0.50s slower than her heat run and gave her an overall ranking of 20th.

"That’s not what I wanted at all. To see that time pop up was disheartening. I can’t describe the experience.The packed crowd and the atmosphere is great and something I’ll take away.” said Lawson.

Morning Session Report

The highlights of the morning session on Day 3 of the World Junior Championships were personal bests from Filoi Aokuso (NSW), Stella Radford (Vic) and Aliyah Johnston (Qld) who all qualified for their respective finals. In total, four Australians progressed to finals, while a further two advanced to the next stage of competition.

In the first event of the day, the women’s 3000m steeplechase, Radford set a fabulous new personal best of 10.19.29s to qualify for Saturday’s final (Sunday AEST). The Victorian placed 10th in her heat, but progressed with the last of the non-automatic qualifying times.

Radford said "It was the hardest race of my life. I didn’t think it would be a PB because it was so pushy”

"I thought I hadn't made it. I think I just didn't do the maths properly. I'm so happy to get through”

In the discus, Filoi Aokuso (NSW) threw a personal best 52.33m to automatically progress for the Saturday’s final. Aokuso had a solid opener of 51.08m, a season’s best, before launching over the 52.00m qualifying mark on her third and final throw.

The national junior champion was thrilled to advance to the final "I am really excited. My first throw felt good but there was no oomph. In my third throw I prepared better. In the other throws I didn’t hear when they called my name and I was rushing, so I made sure I was better prepared. I went into the circle and did my thing.”

Aliyah Johnston (Qld) bounded into the triple jump final with a new personal best on her opening attempt in the qualification round with 13.26m (wind +1.3). A foul followed, before the Gary Bourne-coached athlete recorded 13.24m (+1.9) on the her last.

Johnston was ecstatic with her efforts. "I am so happy. Making the final was the main goal and I knew a big jump was there. A PB and into the final, well I can't ask for anything more"

In the qualification round of the men’s pole vault Jack Hicking (NSW) soared into the final with a leap of 5.20m, just 6cm below his best. Nine others negotiated that height to progress to Saturday’s final.

"I am pretty happy. My warm-up wasn’t the best. The wind and the weather was changing a bit so it was difficult.” said Hicking.

In one of the highlights of the morning session, Maddie Coates (Vic), the youngest Spark at 16 years, won her heat of the 200m, with a storming second half run. Coming off the bend in third position, the tall youngster ran down her rivals with ease, automatically qualifying for tomorrow’s semi-finals. To further impress, her time of 24.20s, into a headwind of 1.8 metres per second was just 0.22s outside her best.

"Being the youngest I didn’t have many expectations. I tried to run a PB and was happy with the time and happy with how I came home. Considering I’ve only been training in the pool lately with my shin problems, that’s a great result” said Coates.

Ella Solin (WA) is through to the semi-finals in the 400m hurdles. The West Australian advanced as one of the fasest non-automatic qualifiers with a time of 60.27s

"I thought the first five hurdles were good. I got my changedown right. I just started to tire at the end.” said Solin.

Also in the pole vault, Kurtis Marschall (SA) cleared 5.00m, just 5cm down on his best, a great result for the 17 year-old South Australian who is eligible for the next edition of the championships which will be held two years from now in Kazan, Russia.

In other events Kate Spencer (NSW), still tired from the 5000m the night before, did not start in her heat of the 3000m steeplechase, while, Queenslander Kirsty Williams threw 46.79m on her first throw in the discus qualifying, followed by two fouls and failed to advance.

In the men’s 200m, James Kermond (NSW) with 21.43 (-0.2) and Ryan Bedford (Qld) 21.55 (+0.6) were 4th and 7th in their respective heats but were unable to progress to the next round.

In the men's hammer qualification round, Worth Youth medallist Matt Denny (Qld) was a surprising non-qualifier for the men’s hammer final with Costa Kousparis (NSW), also unable to progress. Denny finished with a best of 69.16m to place 23rd overall while Kousparis’ last round effort of 65.93m was his best, as he finished in 25th.

Bryce Collins (NSW) placed 52.62 to finish 6th in the semi-finals of the 400m hurdles, but it wasn’t enough to qualify for the final.

Flash Quotes
Filoi Aokuso
"I am really excited. First throw felt good but no oomph. Third throw I prepared better. The other throws I didn’t hear when they called my name and I was rushing, so I made sure I was better prepared. I went into the circle and did my thing.”
"I’ve chucked a few 53s 54s in training, so hopefully I can get an official one"

Stella Radford
"I thought I hadn't made it. I think I just didn't do the maths properly. I'm so happy to get through”
"It was the hardest race of my life. I didn’t think it would be a PB because it was so pushy"
"Three laps to go I felt really good and that’s usually my weakest."

Ryan Bedford
"It was a good first 100m. I lost it a bit over the last 50m. It was just one tenth off my PB. I tried to remember my cues in the last half”

James Kermond
“I had troubles in the first start. “
"I thought my first 100m was the best it's been in a long time. I just didn’t feel like I had that same kick I normally do.”

Maddie Coates
"I was so happy to be out there with all the older girls. It’s such a great experience."
"Being the youngest I didn’t have many expections” . I tried to run a PB and was happy with the time and happy with how I came home.” Considering I’ve only been training in the pool lately with my shin problems, that’s a great result”
"Hopefully I can pull out a PB in the semi-finals and I’ll be over the moon."

Kirsty Williams
"My warm-ups and practice throws were good. It just didn't come together. I'm very disappointed”

Costa Kousparis
"It was a good comp with no fouls so I was happy with that. I wasn't too nervous. I had to give it everything on that last throw”

Matt Denny
"My first throw went well over qualifying but fouled by a couple of centimetres. It went close to 80m and it wasn’t full effort."
"It gives me a reality check. Everyone has bad days. even world record holders and Olympic champions, I’ll put that behind behind me. I have to learn from that."

Bryce Collins 
"It was a tough semi to be in. The time wasn't what I wanted. It was slower than the heat, but it's my first international so I am happy.
"My girlfriends name is written on my arm for motivation.”

Jack Hicking
"I am pretty happy. My warm-up wasn’t the best. The wind and the weather was changing a bit so it was difficult."
"We started low to get some safety jumps in."
"I was prepared to jump an extra height, but we were all counting numbers to see pif enough had got through.”

Kurtis Marschall
"I was close to my personal best. I’ll take this experience on board and bring it in two year’s time"
"I didn’t get too nervous. Everything that I have learnt seemed to come out.”
"It was a relief to get over that first bar."

Ella Solin
"I thought the first five hurdles were good. I got my changedown right. I just started to tire at the end.”
"I went as hard as I could. That’s the strongest I’ve finished for a while. I would have liked a personal best"
"The warm-up felt good. "

Aliyah Johnston
"I am so happy. Making the final was the main goal and I knew a big jump was there. A PB and into the final, well I can't ask for anything more"

 

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