Swirling winds on day three of the Australian Capital Territory Championships didn’t gust Sally Pearson’s (QLD) way as she endured a headwind in her build up to the Australian Championships and Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
In just her second hurdle race of the summer, Sally Pearson clocked 12.87, foiled by a headwind of -1.2 metres per second. “I’m quite disappointed. There were tail winds earlier this morning but the wind turned right around for my race. Unfortunately, these things happen,” Pearson told the assembled media.
“Two weeks ago in Perth I ran about 12.5 and smashed three hurdles, so to come out today and with a headwind like that and run times like that, I was pretty disappointed. It is not a setback, these things happen the human body does what the human body wants. It’s only January and I’ve got plenty of time before the Commonwealth Games.”
She confirmed all is still on track with her preparation. “I’m going really well in training, obviously I don’t peak for these type of competitions, we peak for the majors, so training is going really well. It is just a matter of putting out the races in times I like to see. Hopefully the times will come down, which I know they will.”
The determined Pearson is very passionate about her sport and competing. “I don’t need disappointment as motivation, I’m motivated enough for the sport and to train as good as I can and compete as well as I can. Motivation for me is just about getting out there and racing. I love it.”
Second place, Brianna Beahan (WA) recorded another B qualifier with a time of 13.15.
In the men’s hurdles, Glasgow Commonwealth Games finalist, Nick Hough (NSW) ran just his second race of the summer, winning comfortably in 13.81.
“Already having the qualifier has allowed me to delay my season a little bit and get into harder training. Normally at this stage each year I’m chasing the qualifier every week. So I'm happy with where I’m at. I think I’ll be a few tenths quicker at Nationals and hopefully a fair bit quicker at Commonwealth Games.”
There was a breakthrough in men’s triple jumping at the Championships. Australia last had a triple jumper at the Commonwealth Games in 2006, but today two athletes added over 30 centimetres to their personal bests to achieve B qualifying marks. This makes it likely that Australia will have a triple jumper at the Gold Coast for the first time in 12 years.
In the fifth round Sydney’s Emmanuel Fakiye (NSW) bounded out to 16.26m, just exceeding the standard of 16.25m. It represented a 36 centimetre personal best. On the final jump of the competition Shem James (QLD) responded with a massive 53 centimetre personal best of 16.42m and clinched his own B qualifier.
“I was honestly just trying to get on the board as I felt I had some good jumps in the previous rounds,” James said. “I had a toe nail foul, so I knew if I can get on the board I can put one out there. I was feeling good today so I was hoping it would come together. Emmanuel and I have had a rivalry since we were juniors so it was like replaying old moments. I’d push him and he pushes me."
Emmanuel Fakiye was rather emotional about the performance, recalling how he missed the world junior team by seven centimetres. “I’m ecstatic. I nearly cried," Emmanuel said. "Then coach told me to compose myself. It felt good, but I think there is more in the tank and I need to execute it in the comps. I was passive in the first jump, but I knew I could get it (the standard) when I fouled that big one.”
In the women’s hammer throw, Alex Hulley continued her consistent season with her 23rd B qualifier, to go along with her one A mark. Today she reached 66.86m in a series which included three 66 metres throws. “It was probably my most consistent competition I have ever had," Alex said. "It felt really good after a really solid week of training. Probably the best week I have had.”
In the men’s competition there were B standard for Victorian Jack Dalton (67.58m) and Tasmanian Huw Peacock (67.29m).
In the women’s triple jump there was good progress for Victorian Tierra Exum. After three consecutive competitions at 13.12m, she bounded out to 13.20m on her fifth attempt.
“In the series today all jumps were over 13 metres, which is a first. This is also my first season over 13 metres.” She noted. She was being coached in the competition by nine-time Australian champion, Alwyn Jones, who was in the middle of his own warmup for his event.
Eliza Ault-Connell was a comfortable winner in the wheelchair 1500m in 3:31.13. It capped of a big week of competition for her which started at the Summer Down Under series last weekend and wound its way to Sydney during the week. Ault-Connell, a two-time Commonwealth Games representative, has returned to the sport after a near 10 year break. “As the week has gone on I’ve got more experience, the race tactics that I had lost over the last 10 years. The girls are pushing better than ever.”
Over the weekend the ideal conditions returned five Commonwealth Games A qualifier and 29 Bs. These 34 marks were achieved by 32 athletes.
View the full results here.