Athletes on international stage

Matt Free claimed gold and silver at the three-day competition.
Matt Free claimed gold and silver at the three-day competition.

THREE athletes from the Emerald Athletics Club were leaping for joy after sharing success at the Oceania Area Championships in Cairns.

Shane Chapman and Matt and Jamie Free joined more than 400 athletes from 25 countries who competed at Cairns in the biennial event for open and under-20 age groups.

For some of the open Australian athletes who were selected for the Olympics, it was a chance to have a last hit-out before departing for London.

Matt won gold in the long jump with a winning leap of 6.97 metres with two New Zealanders in second and third.

He also came second in the triple jump with a personal best of 14.09 metres.

Matt was presented with his gold medal by the former Soviet Union's world record-holding pole vault legend Sergey Bubka in his capacity as an International Association of Athletics Federation vice-president.

Shane and Jamie achieved personal best performances at the Oceania competition.

Shane finished sixth overall and third in the Western Division after clearing a personal best height of 1.91 metres.

Jamie had to retire with a hip injury after triple jumping a personal best of 11.98 metres on his second jump.

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