After a long injury playoff, Henry Frayne has made a winning return to action in the long jump.
Henry Frayne has spent so long on the sidelines overcoming injuries he has almost forgotten how a track and field competition works.
But he certainly hasn’t forgotten how to leap a long way as evidenced by his winning comeback in the long jump at the IAAF World Challenge meet on Saturday night.
Competing for the first time in 19 months, Frayne matched the Commonwealth Games A standard with 8.10m in the second round at Lakeside Stadium and then called it a night, confident he had done enough.
There was a time a couple of years ago when Frayne was among the very best jumpers in the world and considered a genuine Olympic medal hope in the long and triple jumps.
He claimed silver in the long jump at the 2012 world indoors, only to suffer a broken foot at the Diamond League meet in Oregon.
He recovered well enough to reach the London Olympic final and then underwent ankle surgery.
A serious back problem made 2013 a complete write-off and it was only when Frayne hooked up with a new exercise physiologist in October that his luck started to turn.
The 23-year-old is still not ready to tackle the more physically-demanding triple jump in competition, although there is a slight chance he could double up in the nationals next month in Melbourne.
Right now, he’s just happy to be back and in the frame for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in one of Australia’s strongest athletics disciplines.
“After my gap of 19 months I didn’t even remember how to prepare for a competition,” said Frayne.
“I forgot to get my numbers until 15 minutes before the call room and then didn’t have the numbers on, so they got a bit angry at me at the call room.
“It was just like being back at my first comp.
“I wasn’t even really sure where I was going to be jumping.
“And I had a few niggles which is one of the other reasons why I didn’t jump for the full comp.”
Frayne and Australian record holder Mitchell Watt are both coached in Brisbane by Gary Bourne, who recently added former world junior champion Robbie Crowther to his squad.
Frayne said Watt – who has battled serious calf problems for more than a year – was back training with an eye to competing in the Commonwealth Games.
The highlight of Saturday night’s meet at Lakeside Stadium was provided by Kim Mickle, who added 3cm to the 14-year-old national javelin record previously held by one of her idols, Louise Currey.
The 2013 world championships silver medallist threw 66.83m in the third round after again being pushed all the way by her great domestic rival Kathryn Mitchell.
Sally Pearson completed a winning double in the 100m flat and hurdles and then confirmed she would only contest those two events at the Australian championships.
Pearson had hoped to add the 200m to her schedule in a bid to replicate her historic national treble of 2011.
“I want to do all three but I don’t think I’ve done enough work,” said the Olympic and world hurdles champion.
Frayne, Mickle and Pearson were among eight Australian athletes to better the Commonwealth Games A standards in a successful meet at Lakeside Stadium watched by a 5000-strong crowd.