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Busy year on several fronts for McDermott

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John Salvado / AAP News

 

It is shaping up to be a massive 2022 for Tokyo Olympics high jump silver medallist and Gold Coast 2018 bronze medallist Nicola McDermott who is looking to compete at the world championships and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

With the world championships and Birmingham Commonwealth Games looming large on the horizon, it’s shaping as a hectic year for Australia’s track and field stars.

And none more so than Tokyo Olympics high jump silver medallist and Gold Coast 2018 bronze medallist Nicola McDermott, who has also had to find time to fit in her impending wedding.

The 25-year-old returned to competition for the first time in six months at the national championships in Sydney on Saturday.

And she didn’t miss a beat, winning gold with a best clearance of 1.94m in the absence of her great domestic rival Eleanor Patterson, who hurt her foot while claiming silver at the world indoors in Serbia in mid-March.

“I miss Eleanor because it’s like the best in the world is with you,” McDermott said.

“I know on the outdoor circuit, overseas in America and in Europe, the two of us will be there and it’s like a slice of home.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t jump together tonight but I’m hoping that we’re both going to be fully healthy and in great shape for when it counts.”

At the world indoors, Patterson joined McDermott as the only Australian women to have cleared the two-metre barrier, with both of them now genuine medal hopes at all of the major global meets.

“It’s incredible for our sport and for Australian athletics,” said McDermott of the prospect of them both finishing on the podium.

“It could happen at the Commonwealth Games, definitely, and (if it happened) at the world championships, that would be amazing.

“Not only this year but in the following years Eleanor and I might be starting to reach some of those higher heights as well, closing in on the world record, which would be phenomenal for Australia.”

Next on the agenda for the devout Christian is her wedding later this month to Rhys Olyslagers, whom she met at youth group way back in 2013.

“So this isĀ one of my last competitions as Nicola McDermott,” she said.

“We’re go ing to be doing it on the New South Wales south coast and I’m really looking forward to it.

“Today the rain has finally stopped so I’m hoping that we now get some nice dry weather for it.

“It’s an exciting time of life.”

Fitting in the honeymoon is another conundrum, with McDermott also targetting the big Diamond League meets before and after the world championships in Oregon in July and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games ending in early August.

McDermott was one of 10 Australians who bettered the exacting qualifying standards for the big back-to-back championships at the national titles in Sydney.

The Commonwealth Games athletics team is capped at 69 able-bodied athletes and approximately eight para-athletes, while an Australian squad of similar size will contest the preceding world titles in Eugene.

The likes of McDermott and Patterson, 800m stars Peter Bol and Catriona Bisset and pole vaulters Nina Kennedy and Kurtis Marschall will contest both events.

Decathletes Ash Moloney and Cedric Dubler would also love to double up but their close proximity makes that a tough ask in such a gruelling event.

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