US shot putter Joe Kovacs (© Mark Shearman)
At the 13th Johnson/JJK Invitational in the US town of Westwood, shot putter Joe Kovacs reached a lifetime best of 22.35m on Saturday (11), the longest distance in the world since 2010.
His big put came in the third round and he also had three other valid efforts between 21.15m and 21.77m in his first competition of 2015 after having given the indoor competitions a miss.
Kovacs' previous best was 22.03m, the best in the world outdoors last year, when he won the 2014 US title last June
But before Saturday, that was actually his last victory as his best form seemed to desert him during July and August on the international circuit in Europe, apart from finishing second at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London when he reached 21.44m
Tia Brooks won the women’s shot in Westwood with 18.49m.
Brazil’s throwers were also on form in California. Jucilene de Lima won the women's javelin with 61.23m and Fernanda Borges took the discus with 62.80m.
The best mark on the track came in the women’s 200m, with Kimberly Duncan clocking 23.07 into a 0.9 metres-per-second breeze.
Olympic 400m champion Kirani James opened his 2015 campaign in fine style when he ran 44.31 at the 36th Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, his fastest ever start to the season.
His compatriot Bralon Taplin was second in a personal best of 44.89.
In the women’s 100m, Muna Lee won in 11.21 (0.4m/s) while there were some good times in the 200m with Kamaria Brown the best woman in 23.01 (0.0m/s) and South Africa’s Anaso Jobodwana winning the men’s event in 20.38 (0.6m/s).
World record-holder Aries Merritt won the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.29 while world junior 400m hurdles champion Shamier Little won her specialist event in 56.43.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF