Samuels books berth in discus final

Australian big guns Dani Samuels, Fabrice Lapierre and Alana Boyd all endured some anxious moments before booking spots in their respective finals at the world athletics championships on Monday.

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Samuels, the 2009 discus world champion, came into the Beijing titles ranked fourth on the back of an ultra-consistent season.

She was peeved to send her first qualifying throw clattering into the cage, before recovering with middling efforts of 61.87m and 62.01m which saw her qualify in eighth spot for Tuesday’s final.

“The first one felt really good but it just hit the cage,” said Samuels.

“From then on I tried to adjust and slow down a little bit so it would go in the direction I wanted to and then I just couldn’t regain my speed after that.

“Those last two throws were a bit cautious.

“I’m a bit annoyed at myself because you’ve just got to go out there and attack it each and every day.”

Lapierre, the 2010 Commonwealth and world indoor long jump champion, did it the other way around, opening with a solid opening effort of 8.03m followed by two fouls.

“That was the most nerve-wracking thing – waiting forever,” said Lapierre who qualified in 11th spot overall for Tuesday’s 12-man final behind American pacesetter Jeff Henderson (8.36m).

“I just kept waiting and waiting, seeing people beat it and then it finally ended so thank God for that.

“I should have made better adjustments but they must have been really small fouls because they were really good jumps.

“I am just looking forward to tomorrow now – replicating that but not fouling.”

Boyd missed her first two qualifying pole vaults at 4.55m but went over successfully at the final attempt to advance to Wednesday’s final.

“The third attempt at 4.55 was a bit tense,” said Boyd, the national record holder and a two-time Commonwealth champion.

“I ran down the runway a lot better, it was a good jump – it felt good and I think there is a lot more there for the final.

“Of course it is a bit of a relief to get through because there are obviously some girls out there that perhaps should have got through but didn’t – which is always the case.

“That’s tough, but I’m excited about the final.”

But it was a brutal day at the Bird’s Nest for 18-year-old vaulter Nina Kennedy.

The youngest member of the 45-strong Australian team missed all three attempts at her opening height of 4.15m.

Madeline Heiner was desperately unlucky to be denied a berth in the women’s 3000m steeplechase final.

Making her major championships debut, Heiner led from the front for much of the opening heat before finishing fourth in 9:30.79.

But with the other two heats both run at a quicker pace she ended up missing out by one spot.

Countrywomen Genevieve LaCaze and Victoria Mitchell were also run out.

Anneliese Rubie smashed her PB with a time of 51.69 to move through to the women’s 400m semis.