Soaring to a new personal best of 2.31m, Brandon Starc (NSW) has marched his way into the men’s high jump final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing (CHN).
The first Australian to secure a start in the round-of-12 since 1997, Starc’s performance moves him to second on the Australian All-Time list and is the biggest jump by an athlete in the green and gold since Tim Forsyth made light work of 2.32m to win the national title in 1998.
Starc, who is the brother of cricketer Mitchell Starc, entered the competition at the maiden height of 2.17m. Progressing to the next height with just one jump, the 21-year-old also cleared 2.22m on his first attempt. He went over both 2.26m and 2.29m on his third and final jump before making light work of 2.31m to ensure his automatic progression to the final on Sunday 30 August.
“The track out there is phenomenal, one of the best that I have ever jumped on. The crowd was loud. The conditions were warm and I felt great in my warm-up. My run up wasn’t quite there for the early jumps, but at 2.31m it was spot on. I had some room to move and jumped quite well,” Starc said.
“I’m more mature here. I know what it takes to jump well now. The positions I have to put myself into, the rhythm. Things like that I’m now more aware of, and this year I have had a good lead-up. My last competition was a 2.27m jump, my body is healthy, and I just had to put myself into the position to jump well. And now I’m into the final!”
Starc made his debut for the Australian Flame at the 2013 IAAF World Championships two years ago. He placed eighth in the men’s high jump final at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and has junior experience in the form of the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships final and a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games.
Joel Baden (Vic), competing with the Australian Flame for the first time at these IAAF World Championships, joined Starc in the qualifying round of the men’s high jump.
Clearing 2.26m after progressing through the height of 2.17m and 2.22m, the 19-year-old Baden will not progress to the final. However, having been impeded by injury in the lead-up to Beijing 2015, the performance bodes well as he prepares to stake a claim for selection to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“This was a great experience. This is my first senior team, so it’s all about new learnings for me. It was good to get control of my nerves, to compete against the best in the world and work on my technique. If I can improve on that, I’ll be ready for next year,” Baden said.
“Considering my lead up to the championships, I am content. I just need to get that bit better before 2016 comes around.”
The morning session on day seven also included the women’s 20km race walk, with Rachel Tallent (Vic) the best placed of the Australian Flame in 34th. She clocked 1:36:27. Tallent’s teammate Beki Lee (NSW) was disqualified.
Competition later today features Moscow 2013 silver medallist Kim Mickle (WA) in the qualifying round of the women’s javelin alongside Glasgow 2014 bronze medallist Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT) and London 2012 finalist Kathryn Mitchell (Vic).
Michelle Jenneke (NSW) will also start, returning to the home straight for the semi-final of the women’s 100m hurdles.
For more information on the IAAF World Championships, including results and entry lists, please click here to visit iaaf.org.
For more information on the Australian Flame, including the team media guide, please click here to visit athletics.com.au.
For information about the Australian broadcast of the IAAF World Championships, please click here to visit athletics.com.au/broadcast.