Aussie prodigy ‘a medal chance’ in Tokyo
GARY Bourne's "Project Naa'' steps up a touch in confidence this week after a niche was created in Australian athletics history at the weekend.
Brisbane's Naa Anang became national champion in the 100m and the long jump at the same national titles and statisticians are unable to find a precedent.
Bourne, the evergreen Brisbane jumps coach, has a long-term view to the Tokyo Olympics after a personal best 6.81m jump on Sunday which he said would have placed her to finish "well inside'' the top eight if repeated at a major championships.
Ghana-born Anang, 24, will give herself just two days off before resuming training towards the world championships in Doha in September, for which she has qualified.
Bourne said Anang would continue to develop her sprinting but the long jump remained her priority, especially in international competition.
"Her progression and speed indicates she may be a medal chance in the long jump,'' said Bourne, who has previously coached top international jumpers including Bronwyn Thompson and Henry Frayne.
"I'm not getting too excited about the 100m at this stage but quite excited about her chances in the long jump in Doha and Tokyo.
"Her 100m PB of 11.32 sec (in Saturday's national final in Sydney) makes her one of the fastest female jumpers in the world now.
"We look forward to implementing Project Naa at the Queensland Academy of Sport over next 18 months to Tokyo.''
Anang would need to lower her 100m personal best by .08 sec by July to qualify for the 100m, but she is much closer to being world class in the long jump.
She said she had been nervous because she had not competed in the long jump and 100m at the same meet since she was at high school in 2010.
"I had no idea how my body would cope, but I was also excited because I knew I was a chance to win both,'' she said.
"I just took it event by event and tried to keep as much energy as I could for the long jump final on Sunday. I'm really happy with how it all went, two wins and two PBs.
"At the moment, I'm looking to go to Europe in August before the worlds but just depends what meets I can get into before that.''