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High jumper Patterson in red-hot form

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John Salvado / AAP News

 

High jumper Eleanor Patterson is in career-best form and is ready for the Australian Championships.

 

Glasgow 2014 gold medallist Eleanor Patterson will bring career-best form and sky-high confidence into the latest instalment of Australian track and field’s best rivalry this weekend in Sydney.

Fresh from joining Olympic women’s high jump silver medallist and Gold Coast 2018 bronze medallist Nicola McDermott as the only Australian members of the exclusive two-metre club, Patterson shapes as the favourite at the national championships.

Patterson achieved the feat en route to winning silver behind sentimental favourite Yaroslava Mahuchikh from Ukraine at the world indoors in Belgrade earlier this month.

“It’s really exciting to have brought to fruition a performance like that,” said Patterson, who first soared to prominence when she won Commonwealth gold at the 2014 Glasgow Games as an 18-year-old.

“I knew that two metres was coming, I knew that I was in really good form but it’s a big moment and a lot of things have to go right.

“It’s one of my proudest moments and among the biggest achievements in my career so far. ”

After skipping the world indoors, McDermott will return to action at the national titles, where spots in the Australian squads for the world outdoor championships in Eugene, Oregon and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games are up for grabs.

Both Australians will be legitimate medal contenders at the back-to-back major meets in July and August.

“It’s really exciting that we have each other to compete against,” Patterson told AAP.

“To have two athletes in the top five in the world from the one country is very impressive; it’s such a good thing for both of us and our careers that we have each other.

“I have a lot of respect for Nicola and I can feel that vice versa.

“We don’t tend to socialise outside athletics but we get along really well.”

McDermott broke her own Australian record with a clearance of 2.02m in the Tokyo Olympics final, where Patterson was fifth.

The women’s high jump final is on Saturday at the Sydney Olympic Park athletics centre.

In early action on Wednesday, Tokyo Olympics finalist Ollie Hoare cruised into the 1500m title race by clocking the fastest heat time of three minutes 41.91 seconds.

National 1500m record holder Stewart McSweyn was among a large group of athletes given exemptions to skip the national titles.

McSweyn sent a scare through his camp earlier this month when he was forced to pull out of a 5000m race after struggling for breath.

The problem was later found to have been caused by a COVID-19 booster shot, with the Tasmanian diagnosed with inflammation around the heart.

Linden Hall (4:19.36) was the fastest qualifier for the women’s 15000m title race, with fellow Tokyo Olympics finalist Jessica Hull choosing to focus solely on the 5000m after making the long trip home from Serbia following the world indoors.

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