Sport Athletics Eleanor Patterson clears 1.96m to win high jump at Canberra Track Classic
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Eleanor Patterson clears 1.96m to win high jump at Canberra Track Classic

Eleanor Patterson clears her jump at the Canberra Track Classic on Thursday. Photo: AAP
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Eleanor Patterson has edged out fellow Australian Nicola McDermott on countback to win a top-quality women’s high jump at the Canberra Track Classic.

Patterson, the 2014 Commonwealth champion, and McDermott, the 2018 Commonwealth bronze medallist, both equalled their personal bests of 1.96 metres on a wet Thursday evening in Canberra.

The pair of 23-year-olds then came up just short in their bids to equal the long-standing national record of 1.98m, with the promise of even better to come in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics.

Patterson is a rejuvenated athlete since linking up with new coach Alex Stewart, whose group also includes Australia’s best male high jumper Brandon Starc.

“I’m thrilled to be back jumping and jumping how I know I can,” said Patterson, who did not even make the Australian team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, when there were fears she could be lost to the sport.

“Especially as I’m with Alex Stewart and the whole squad, I feel very blessed to be in the position I am today.”

McDermott enjoyed a career-best campaign in 2019, although she struggled to maintain her best form through to the world championships late in the year.

“After doing my personal in the mid-year, around the time (the Tokyo Olympics) will be this year, we figured that extending it out those extra few months was a real challenge,” she said.

“But I took a few tips out of it, found my limitations and where I need to improve.”

Competing for the first time since the Doha world championships in early October, Starc won the men’s high jump with 2.25m ahead of fellow Australian Joel Baden and New Zealander Hamish Kerr (both 2.22m).

The inclement conditions cruelled any hopes of the men’s sprinters threatening the 10-second barrier in the 100m.

NSW’s Rohan Browning was a comprehensive winner in 10.17sec ahead of Jake Doran (10.33).

London Olympics finalist Steve Solomon flew home to win the men’s 400m in 45.37sec, while runner-up Alex Beck smashed his personal best, stopping the clock at 45.82sec.

In-form Liz Clay backed up from a flying effort at last week’s Melbourne Track Classic with a solid 100m hurdles win in 13.17sec, ahead of Brianna Beahan (13.27).

But the inclement conditions meant Clay was unable to get close to last week’s personal best of 12.94sec, which lifted her to fourth on the Australian all-time list.

-AAP

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