Sport Athletics Aussie Brooke jumps into Rio medal contention

Aussie Brooke jumps into Rio medal contention

Brooke Stratton long jump
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Brooke Stratton has soared into medal contention in an Olympic year after smashing the Australian women’s long jump record at the Perth Track Classic.

The 22-year-old Stratton set the new mark of 7.05m on Saturday night, bettering the previous best of 7m set by Bronwyn Thompson in 2002.

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Stratton’s jump would have been good enough to win bronze at both the London 2012 Olympic Games and last year’s world championships and was 20cm better than the gold medal-winning effort at the 2014 world indoors.

Brooke Stratton
American athlete Brittney Reese is in Stratton’s sights. AAP Image.

And the timing could hardly have been better, with Stratton about to head to Portland, Oregon as part of the eight-member Australian team for the 2016 world indoors.

“I had originally thought I would be going to the indoors just looking to gain a bit more experience leading into Rio (2016 Olympic Games) but now, after jumping 6.94 a couple of weeks ago and now the 7.05m, I’m definitely well within the mix over there,” Stratton said.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself but hopefully I can come away with a medal if I get a good jump in.

“It’s pretty crazy – after coming away with 14th place at the world athletics championships I thought I had a fair way to go to be up there.”

Stratton jumped 7.05m in Perth. How would that jump have ranked at the London 2012 games?

London 2012: how Stratton stacks up

  1. Brittney Reese (USA) – 7.12m
  2. Yelena Sokolova (RUS) – 7.07m
  3. Janay DeLoach (USA) – 6.89m
  4. Ineta Radevica (LAT) – 6.88m
  5. Anna Nazarova (RUS) – 6.77m

The March 17-20 championships in Portland will be the first time Stratton has ever competed indoors.

The Victorian smashed the national record with her second jump in Perth with the aid of a legal 2m tailwind.

“I knew the jump was there, I just had to get it all right,” said Stratton.

“The conditions were perfect here.”

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Thompson was excited to see her record broken.

“I’m so very pleased for Brooke. It’s great to see an Australian out past the seven-metre mark. She is an exciting talent, and I can’t wait to see how she will perform in Rio,” Thompson said.

The other standout performance in Perth on Saturday came from Trae Williams, who broke Matt Shirvington’s longstanding under-20 100m Australian record with a time of 10.27 seconds.

“I believed I could do it. Every week I’ve got closer and closer to the time, but with the boys pushing me tonight I got there,” Williams said.

“Shirvington is one of my heroes, he had a 10.03 PB and to run as quick as him at 19 is so amazing.”

Jack Hale was second in a personal best of 10.31.

In other events, Kenyan star David Rudisha won the 800m in 1:44.89 and Australian Kathryn Mitchell took out the women’s javelin with a best throw of 63.95m.