What can Watt do in the long jump?
Mitchell Watt should be buoyed by the 29 degree forecast and sunny skies this Friday in Monte Carlo for the final pre-Olympics Diamond League meeting, after the cold and wet all the athletes’ endured last weekend in London.
With so much at stake at the Games in nine short day’s time, you could understand why some athletes did not want to risk injury competing in those conditions at Crystal Palace.
It certainly would not have helped Steve Hooker’s confidence and Asafa Powell withdrew the day before not wishing to risk a slight groin strain further.
One of those who did compete, Brit Tiffany Porter, suffered a back injury which led to her less than par performance in the sprint hurdles.
World silver medallist Watt appears to have tapered his preparation perfectly by winning the London Diamond League meeting with a leap of 8:28 metres. The warmth of the Mediterranean hamlet should be just what the doctor ordered for his final dress rehearsal.
The Principality has always produced great conditions for the vertical jumps, but Watt will be hoping it transfers to the horizontal ones as well.
The only other Australians competing are Youcef Abdi in the steeplechase and Jarrod Bannister, fresh from his season best effort of 83.70 in finishing third, in the javelin at the Paris Diamond League meeting on 6 July. Like Watt, his preparation seems to be spot on.
The women’s pole vault has perhaps the most depth of any field with the return to competition of world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva. She will have her hands full with world champion Brazilian Fabiana Murer, new European Champion Jirina Ptacnikova, along with former world record holder, Russian Svetlana Feofanova.
The Monte Carlo Grand Prix usually attracts a stellar field but is somewhat depleted this year with the Games so close. Most athletes may have chosen to remain in team training camps, or in their regular European bases until the last possible moment to head to London.
The English summer weather so far would be one reason why some may not arrive until two to three days before their event, which for the elite performers is not an unusual practice for the Olympics as many stay in hotels and not the athlete’s village, in any case.