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Author: Athletics NSW Administrator/Friday, 23 May 2008/Categories: News

Dani Samuels has performed best of the Australians competing on Day 1 of the Olympic Test Event.

Samuels, who has an affinity with Beijing, having won the world junior title there in 2006, produced a performance just short of her personal best in finishing third behind Chinese athletes Yanfeng Li and Aimin Song with a fourth round effort of 62.65m. Samuels competition was not technical sound, with four of her throws veering outside the sector on the right hand side. However, given that these non valid throws on occasion approached the 65m mark, Samuels will hope that with further refinement to her technique that she may find herself on the podium again come the Olympics.

Joshua Ross showed that he is returning to some of his best form by finishing second in his quarter final of the 100m in 10.29 seconds. He shared the fastest time of the round with the winner of his heat, Kai Hu, who got the nod from the photo finish judges. Ross, along with Australian record holder Patrick Johnson (2nd in his heat in 10.33s) progress through to today's semi-finals, whilst Australian champion Otis Gowa (10.60s) and Westfields' Robert Marks (10.69s) failed to qualify.

NSW record holder in the 110m Hurdles, Justin Merlino, went up against world record holder Liu Xiang in the first of three rounds of the high hurdles. Unsurprisingly Xiang, who is the major drawcard at the event, which expects to gather 300,000 spectators over its four days, triumphed easily over Merlino 13.63 to 13.84. Merlino will race in the second of this evening's semi-finals, again against Xiang, where he will relish the opportunity to records a fast performance (the Olympic A-standard is 13.55s) and prove to the Australian selectors that he can perform well in multi round competitions similar to what will take place at the Olympics.

Other NSW athletes in action included Keatyn Windley, who progressed through to the semi-final stage of the 100m with a run of 11.94s in the heats; Christie Chamerlain, who was 18th in the discus with a best throw of 46.2m; Daniel Small, who ran 14.84s in the 110m Hurdles heats; and Caryn Brett (2618 points) and Bridie Goggins (2614 points) who are 14th and 15th respectively after the first four events of the Heptathlon.


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