THE nation’s leading athletes completed their Australian Athletics Tour campaigns recently when the competition final took place at WA Athletics Stadium.
The two-night event was the final chance for athletes to earn points for the ultimate $10,000 cash prize in the five-leg tour.
Healthy crowds on both nights witnessed the action, where track stars Jana Pittman and Sally Pearson excelled.
Pittman was racing for the first time in Australia since 2006 and excited the crowd with a dramatic victory in her pet event, the 400 metre hurdles.
She won in 55.75 seconds, passing reigning national champion Lauren Boden in the home straight.
“It’s great to be back,” Pittman-Rawlinson said.
“I can’t wait to compete for Australia again. Execution tonight was the key thing for me, but things went OK.
“Now it’s about finding race fitness and building towards nationals.”
Crowd favourite Sally Pearson was busy throughout the event, winning in all three events she raced, the 100m and 200m flat, and 100m hurdles.
While unhappy with the times she ran, her results earned her the $10,000 prize as the best performed sprinter throughout the tour event.
Western Australian Kim Mickle won the javelin event in Perth to claim the throws title ahead of world champion discus thrower Dani Samuels, who also comfortably took out the Perth discus event.
Long jumper Mitchell Watt was crowned jumps champion after an 8.21m performance, beating Fabrice Lapierre who was well below his best after a long layoff.
Tamsyn Lewis was the other $10,000 winner; her victory in the 800m enough to secure the distance title.
One of the surprise performances came from unheralded triple jumper Kane Brigg, who jumped 16.97m and entertained the crowd with a celebratory back-flip after his feat.
It was a considerable personal best for Brigg and the fifth longest jump ever by an Australian.
The second night also had an unusual element, with the light towers being dimmed to half brightness for a portion of the evening, much to the bemusement of both athletes and spectators.
It meant the men’s 100m, the blue riband event, was won by Australia’s fastest man, Aaron Rouge-Serret, in a state of near darkness.