National under 20 record holder Damien Birkinhead (Vic) has progressed with ease to the boy’s shot put final at the IAAF world junior championships in Barcelona (ESP) after hurling 20.01m, 70 centimetres more than the auto-advance mark, on his first attempt.
A Target Talent Program athlete and graduate of Athletics Australia’s Under 17 Development and Under 19 Talent Squads, Birkinhead made his Australian debut at the 2009 IAAF world youth championships and has since placed fourth at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore (SIN).
Birkinhead said: “I was hoping to do it a little easier to be honest, I was just so nervous, my arm was shaking as I threw and I was so glad to see it travel as far as it did.
“A 21 metre throw plus is going to be required for a medal so it’s off to rest up, which might seem a bit of a stretch after one throw, so that I am prepared for the final. I hope I can do that, we will have to see what happens, but my recent form and training suggests that I can do it for sure.”
Joining Birkinhead on the automatic qualifiers list after a 21.50m championship record throw in qualifying group ‘B’ is his good mate and world youth and world junior champion Jacko Gill (NZL).
Birkinhead joked: “Jacko and I are really good mates, sometimes the others in our event suggest that we are possibly a couple. That probably has something to do with us holding hands to stir the pot.
“It's fair to say that he is better than me but I am feeling something great coming on so watch out.
Also competing in the field was Josie Nichol (NSW) in the girl’s triple jump. Her best performance of 12.20m (w: +0.4) was not enough to take her through to the final.
On the track, Morgan Mitchell (Vic) etched a new personal best of 54.19 next to her name to in heat three and move through to the girl’s 400m semi finals, as did Abbey De La Motte (Tas) who in in the penultimate race of six heats clocked 54.03.
Mitchell started in the outside line, cruising up the back straight before stepping it up on the run home to pass Bainka Keri (HUN, third, 54.34) and finish second behind Bianca Razoe (ROU, first, 53.44).
Mitchell said: “I’m so happy, that felt so good, I’m not as tired as I thought I would be and that’s the perfect result
“I always wanted to save myself for the front straight because I knew I had some girls coming up the inside of me that would provide something to chase and worked really well.
“I don’t want to be too cocky but I think I can find about another second in my race, that could get me through to a final but the semi was my aim, I’ve done that and all from here is a bonus.”
De La Motte started strongly to blaze the back straight and come into the second bend in a commanding position. Holding firm with the lead few girls, she bounded home to finish third behind Jamaican winner Chrisann Gordan (52.99).
In the 400m hurdles, Gatkauth Chol (Qld) flew the Australian flag. He stopped the clock in 52.78 to finish 5th in his heat.
Competition also continued in the decathlon and with the javelin and 1500m still to come later today, Jake Stein (NSW) and Cedric Dubler (Qld) are well within the contenders.
Opening their day two account in the 110m hurdles, Dubler faired best clocking 14.62 (896 points), with Stein clipping the eighth hurdle before crossing in 14.90 (862 points).
Conversely in the discus throw, it was Stein who shone. He hit a best mark of 51.43m with his second throw to score 900 points, while Dubler managed 36.15m to add 587 points to his total.
In the pole vault, Jake Stein cleared 3.80m, with Dubler soaring over 4.50m.
To view and download full results from the 2011 IAAF world junior championships, please click here.
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