John Salvado / AAP News
Australia’s two high jumper superstars have qualified for Saturday night’s women’s high jump final.
Australia’s high jump queens Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers have barely raised a sweat in advancing to Saturday’s Commonwealth Games final in Birmingham.
The qualifying round on Thursday was always going to be a walk in the park for newly-minted world champion Patterson and Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Olsylagers.
They both needed just the one jump at 1.81m to ease into the final, where they will be near unbackable favourites to fill the top two spots on the podium.
Even so, they were glad to get a good look at the conditions, especially as the final will also be a morning affair beginning at the unusually early time of 10.17am (7.17pm AEST).
“I wanted to do as little as possible to get through to the final and I’ve ticked that box,” said Patterson.
“It was wonderful to be able to get out there and get a feel for it before the final.
“I got a feel for the track, got a feel for the atmosphere, which was phenomenal, so I’m really excited for Saturday morning.”
As a self-styled “morning person”, the early start holds no fears for Patterson, who won her first Commonwealth title in Glasgow eight years ago as a teenager.
After being the headline Australian act in Tokyo last year, Olyslagers played second fiddle to Patterson at the world championships in Eugene where she finished fifth in the final.
“I’m just enjoying the fact that you know all of Australia is watching this one,” the 25-year-old said on Thursday.
“I’m excited just that I could do what I needed to do today to get into the finals; now it’s all systems go for a couple of days time.”
Ollie Hoare put aside the disappointment of his 1500m semi-final exit at the world championships to storm into the men’s final.
Hoare won the fastest of the two heats in three minutes 37.57 seconds.
The men’s metric mile is the strongest event on the track and field program in Birmingham, with new world champion Jake Wightm an, fellow Scotsman Josh Kerr and Kenyan superstars T imothy Cheruiyot and Abel Kipsang also advancing.
“My coach Dathan (Ritzenhein) said it is going to be a great mental test for you,” Hoare said of bouncing back from the world championships let-down.
“This is going to define who you are as an athlete – will you cave in or will you try and progress and know that your fitness is there?”
Fellow Australian Matthew Ramsden was eliminated after finishing sixth in 3:48.98 in the slower of the two heats.
Jacinta Beecher (23.13) and Ella Connolly (23.56) both did enough to advance to the women’s 200m semi-finals.
Five-time Olympics gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah (22.80) from Jamaica also cruised through.
Australia’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games silver medallist Alex Hulley (66.15m) was fourth in the opening round of qualifying in the women’s hammer throw.
Camryn Rogers from Canada broke the Games record in qualifying with 74.68m.