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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Mitchell Watt wins New York Long Jump with 8.16

Mitchell Watt wins New York Long Jump with 8.16

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Mitchell Watt wins long jump in New York

By John Salvado
Brisbane Times
June 10, 2012

World championships silver medallist Mitchell Watt has edged out fellow Australian Fabrice Lapierre to win the long jump at the Diamond League meet in New York.

Competing on the international stage for the first time this year, Watt's only legal jump of 8.16m proved just enough to win the competition, with Lapierre improving to 8.14m in the third round.

While Watt is one of the red-hot favourites to win gold at the upcoming London Olympics, Lapierre - the reigning Commonwealth and 2010 world indoor champion - has only one more shot to book his spot on the Games team.

Lapierre will compete at a more low-key meet in New York on Monday (AEST) - the final day of the selection period - where he will need to jump 8.20m or better to join Watt and Henry Frayne in the Olympic squad.

Watt's coach Gary Bourne was impressed with both Australian jumpers in New York.

"Fabrice looked in fantastic physical shape, his bigger jumps were close to the qualifier and when he competes here again tomorrow in what should be less blustery conditions he could jump something that will see a third long jumper in the mix for the Olympics," he said.

"Today was a real improvement on what we have seen from him so far this year, so fingers crossed things go his way."

Watt will now head to Europe for the final stage of his Olympic build-up.

"Mitch made the first jump look really easy and despite five fouls after that I am really happy with today's result," said Bourne.

"That might sound a little strange but Mitch hasn't done a whole lot of work on his run-up yet and the wind was playing havoc out there.

"Had he hit any of the other attempts he had I can confidently say we would have seen 8.20m, maybe even 8.30m."

But the news wasn't as good for fellow Australian Steve Hooker, who could only manage a best clearance of 5.42m to finish sixth behind red-hot Olympic pole vault favourite Renaud Lavillenie at a meet in Lille, France.

Hooker booked his spot on the Australian Olympic team by clearing 5.72m indoors in Perth last month, but in four subsequent international meets he has not gone any higher than 5.42m - far below what will be needed to challenge for a medal in London.

In other Australian action in Europe, Youcef Abdi clocked a season's best time of eight minutes 21.98 seconds to finish second in the steeplechase at the Cezmi Or Memorial in Istanbul behind Ethiopia's Birhan Getahun.

Benn Harradine was seventh in the discus in New York with 62.15m and Craig Mottram was 15th in the 5000m in 3:40.01.

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