Watt second in Monte Carlo long jump

By John Salvado, NZ Newswire Updated July 21, 2012, 4:21 pm

Australian Mitchell Watt was jumping in Monte Carlo but his mind was elsewhere.

In London, to be precise.

Exactly two weeks before the qualifying round of the Olympic men's long jump, Watt finished second at the Herculis Diamond League meet.

His best jump of 8.12m was nothing special by his lofty standards - 42cm short of the national record he set last year.

But for the man widely expected to go one better in London than his silver medal at the 2011 world championships, it was mission accomplished.

"I woke up this morning and my first thought wasn't that I'm jumping in Monaco tonight," said Watt.

"My first thought was that the Olympics are in two weeks today so that probably sums up where my head was tonight.

"It was a good atmosphere and a good crowd but at the end of the day no-one is going to remember who won Monaco two weeks before the Olympics.

"It was kind of hard to really care about tonight so that's why I'm really not too fazed."

Watt had suggested earlier in the week that he might pull out of the competition if he produced a big leap in the early rounds.

As it was, he took all six of his jumps, with the best of them coming in the final round.

But Watt was far from the only one who struggled to produce his best in a competition won by reigning Olympic champion Irving Saladino from Panama with a modest effort of 8.16m.

US trials winner Marquise Goodwin could manage no better than sixth with 7.94m and Beijing Games silver medallist Godfrey Mokoena from South Africa was last with 7.75m.

The pick of Watt's jumps came after coach Gary Bourne identified a glitch in his run-up which was quickly rectified.

"The last round was probably the only one where I felt half good," said the 24-year-old.

"It's easy to say now, but if I had two more jumps I would have done better.

"I'm definitely not disappointed at all.

"That's why I came here tonight - to iron these things out.

"And I picked up a couple of Diamond League points.

"I've had three firsts and a second in my international preparation and I definitely would have taken that six months ago, especially when I was hardly touching a track back then."

Fellow Australian Jarrod Bannister also produced his best effort in the final round of the javelin, throwing 81.19m to finish fourth behind winner Oleksandr Pyatnytsya from Ukraine (82.85m).

I just couldn't get going today," said Bannister, the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

"In my last throw I got a little bit of rhythm back.

"The warm-ups were going alright and then we had a bit of a break between the introductions and the comp and I lost my groove I guess.

But the last round was pretty promising."

The other Australian in action was Youcef Abdi, who finished a disappointing 10th in the 3000m steeplechase.

Abdi came into the meet believing he was in the sort of shape to give Shaun Creighton's 19-year-old Australian record of eight minutes 16.22 seconds a real scare.

But the Beijing Olympic finalist could only clock 8:32.86.

Conselus Kipruto overtook fellow Kenyan Paul Koech in the shadow of the line to win in 8:03.49.

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