Report23 Mar 2019

Kiryu double highlights Queensland Track Classic


Yoshihide Kiryu (centre) in action at the Queensland Track Classic (© Getty Images)

Yoshihide Kiryu, the only Japanese man ever to have broken 10 seconds for 100m, lit up the Queensland Track Classic with a sprint double on Saturday (23), in the process, dragging one of Autralia’s emerging sprinters to a World Championships qualifying time in the 100m.

Kiryu, a regular visitor to Australia in recent times, made the most of a following wind of 2.0m/s, right on the maximum allowable, to take the 100m in 10.08.

No surprise there for a man who has a personal best of 9.98 perhaps, not to mention a wind-assisted 9.87. But the surprise came from the fact that Kiryu was pushed all the way by Rohan Browning, only securing the win with a well-timed and desperate throw for the line.

Browning was given the same time as the winner, equalling the fastest time ever run by an Australian man in Australia, Josh Ross’s 10.08 in 2007. Ross ran his time at Brisbane’s QE II stadium, the venue for the 1982 Commonwealth Games. Browning made his breakthrough – his previous best was 10.19 – on the stadium warm-up track which, give or take a centimetre or two, is about 100 metres away.

Kiryu was part of a large team of Japanese athletes who competed at the meeting as part of their preparations for the Asian Championships, to be held next month at Doha’s Khalifa Stadium, also the venue for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 later in the year.

It was just one of a trifecta of fast runs by the 23-year-old. Kiryu had earlier won a heat of the 100m in 10.22 (0.1m/s) and came back later in the evening to win the 200m in a personal best of 20.39 (1.5m/s).

Browning fulfils earlier promise

With his performance against Kiryu, Browning became the last of the trio of junior sprinters who emerged at the 2014 Australian All-Schools Championships to make a significant mark at senior level.

Back then, on a windy Adelaide track, Jack Hale ran an eye-popping 10.13 with the aid of a 3.4m/s tailwind. Browning was second in that race in 10.18 and Trae Williams third in 10.33.

Hale continued to impress that year before injuries forced him into a holding pattern. He has been showing his best form since this domestic season. In Perth a week ago he reduced his legal best to 10.20 and he improved that again in running 10.19 for third behind Kiryu and Browning.

Then it was Williams who shone brightest last year, winning the Australian title in 10.10 before he and Browning both just missed out on the Commonwealth Games final. Hale, who injured a hamstring at the nationals, was restricted to relay duty at the Games.

Now Browning has taken his turn as leader among these three almost-equals. His time was a qualifying performance for the World Championships and he, Hale, Jake Doran and Alex Hartmann further combined to win a 4x100m on the night in 38.83, a qualifying time for the IAAF World Relays Yokohama 2019 in May.

An Australian squad of Ian Halpin, Tyler Gunn, Alex Beck and Steve Solomon also won the 4x400m in a World Relays qualifying time of 3:03.67, ahead of a Japan A-squad, a team from Toyo University and Japan-B.

There will most likely be an Australian women’s 4x400m in Yokohama, too, and one of the members is shaping to be Ellie Beer after the 16-year-old beat national squad regulars Caitlin Jones and Lauren Wells to win the women’s 400m in 52.53, almost a full second under her previous best.

Long jump keeps on delivering

Brooke Stratton and Naa Anang continued their close rivalry in the women’s long jump. A week ago in Perth, Anang’s 6.73m narrowly bested Stratton’s 6.72m. It was not quite as close in Brisbane, with Stratton’s best jump of 6.74m (1.6m/s) five centimetres ahead of her rival’s 6.69m (1.1m/s).

Olympic finalist and Commonwealth silver medallist Henry Frayne was forced to sit out the men’s event with a hamstring injury, but world U20 and U18 medallist Darcy Roper was again beyond the eight-metre mark in winning the event.

A week after a windy 8.32m and personal best of 8.13m in Perth, Roper mastered the tricky tailwinds on the run-up to produce a best of 8.05m (1.5m/s) to beat Henry Smith’s 7.90m/s.

Mitchell beyond 60 metres but behind Barber on return

Commonwealth champion Kathryn Mitchell had three of the best five throws in the world last year in women’s javelin. She managed a 60.73m effort on her return to competition in Brisbane, but that was not enough to beat her teammate Kelsey-Lee Barber’s best of 62.65m.

Liam O’Brien, having already improved to 79.28m this year, produced his first throw beyond 80 metres in taking the men’s event with a distance of 81.36m.

The other strong throwing performance on the night was a 64.85m by Matt Denny in taking the men’s discus.

Still, Mitchell’s was a more auspicious return to competition than that of men’s high jump Diamond Trophy winner Brandon Starc, however. Starc entered the competition at a modest 2.07m, which he cleared on the second attempt, before bowing out at 2.12m as the jumpers battled the windy conditions early in the meeting.

The high jump was won by New Zealand’s Hamish Kerr whose second-time clearance at 2.24m put him clear on countback from Korea’s Woo Snag-hyuk, who got the height on his final try.

Len Johnson for the IAAF

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