Aussie Olympian Nicola McDermott has set a new national high jump record, becoming the first Australian woman to break the two-metre barrier.
Competing at the Australian Track and Field Championships in Sydney on Sunday, McDermott cleared 2.00m on her second attempt to better the previous Oceania record of 1.99m set by Eleanor Patterson in February 2020.
Kayo is your ticket to the best sport streaming Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
The 24-year-old then had three unsuccessful attempts at 2.03m, but had already done more than enough to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics track-and-field team.
Patterson was unfortunately absent from the weekend’s action at Sydney Olympic Park due to injury.
“I knew in my body I could do a lot higher, but the fear aspect of high jump is the thing that gets to you with the mind,” McDermott said after the event.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, because I’m still so in the zone because I know in order to get the gold in Tokyo you need to jump higher than two metres.
“I was really happy with it. Psychologically I wasn’t scared and if you’re not scared, you can jump so high.
“The world record is 2.09m. So I mean if you’re not scared of it, why not just go for it.
“We have all the building blocks in place. It is just a matter of building, I know my roots are good, I know I’ve got good strength, it’s just now adding to that.
“I’m not going to expect big heights, I’m going to make sure that there is big heights. I’m not going to give a reason for why they wouldn’t come.
“That’s the process I am going to replicate for Tokyo hopefully.”
McDermott won bronze in the high jump event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and has cemented her spot as a genuine medal contender in Tokyo.
Comparatively, Spanish athlete Ruth Beitia won gold at the 2016 Games in Rio by clearing 1.97m.
Meanwhile, discus thrower Dani Stevens became the first Australian to win the same event 14 times at national level, recording a best throw of 62.74m.
“I’m back to as close to 100 per cent as I could have hoped for,” Stevens said.
“I feel like I have some power and velocity in my arm, which if I wasn’t close to 100 per cent then I wouldn’t have.”
Athletics Australia announced an initial selection of 20 athletes for Tokyo on Sunday afternoon, 12 of which will be making their maiden Olympic appearance this year, including McDermott.
Tokyo Olympics track-and-field team (as of Sunday, April 18)
Rohan Browning — 100m
Jye Edwards — 1500m
Kurtis Marschall — pole vault
Cedric Dubler — decathlon
Ash Moloney — decathlon
Riley Day — 200m
Bendere Oboya — 400m
Catriona Bisset — 800m
Linden Hall — 1500m
Liz Clay — 100m hurdles
Genevieve Gregson — 3000m steeplechase
Nicola McDermott — high jump
Brooke Stratton — long jump
Nina Kennedy — pole vault
Dani Stevens — discus
Stewart McSweyn — 5000m and 10,000m
Dane Bird-Smith — 20km walk
Jessica Hull — 5000m
Jemima Montag — 20km walk
Kelsey Lee-Barber — javelin