Paralympic Champ shows the way

It wasn’t her greatest leap, but reigning Paralympic champion Christine Wolf still did enough to retain her women’s long jump crown at the 2009 AWD Australia Athletics Championships yesterday in Brisbane.

Wolf joined Lindsay Sutton (men’s discus) and 2008 Australian Paralympic teammates Katherine Proudfoot (women’s discus), Damien Bowen (mixed seated discus) and veteran Darren Thrupp (men’s long jump) as gold medallists on day one of the Championships.

AIS-based Wolf, who won gold at last year’s Beijing Games with a world record jump of 3.73m, used a slight tail wind to post a best leap of 3.64m yesterday to secure victory. Stephanie Schweitzer (NSW) and ACT’s Eowyn Osborne filled in the minor placings.

In the men’s long jump, Thrupp, a six-time Paralympian and multiple medallist, showed no inclination to rest his experienced legs when he leapt to gold with a jump of 5.30m.

Sutton and Paralympians Proudfoot and Bowen also impressed on their way to victory in their respective field events while on the track, Australia’s sprinters showed some early form in the 100m heats.

Victorian Tim Sullivan, the Australian record holder for the most gold medals (10) at the Paralympic Games, ran a controlled race to stop the clock in 11.92 seconds, going into the final as the fastest qualifier.

He will enter the final gunning for the world record held by arch rival, fellow Australian Evan O’Hanlon, who is the current Paralympic Champion and world record holder (10.96 seconds).

In the women’s 100m, Kelly Cartwright emerged as the fastest qualifier after slashing almost a second off the time she ran in the 100m final last year at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing.

Running into a head wind, Cartwright nudged her personal best time to stop the clock in 17.43. Fellow Paralympians Carlee Beattie and Tahlia Rotumah also booked their passage into the final.

The Championships continue today and conclude tomorrow.

by Tim Mannion
Posted 20/03/2009 04:15 PM

Christine Wolf, Athletics (Serena Corporate Photography)