Patterson claims silver behind Ukrainian high jumper at world titles

If ever there were a time to be comfortable to be beaten by anyone in world sport, then this it.

Australia’s Eleanor Patterson set a new national record as she claimed second at the World Athletics Indoor Championships to a high jumper from invaded and war-ravaged Ukraine.

Patterson jumped two metres – higher than any Australian woman had jumped indoors before – to claim silver in Serbia. Tokyo Olympic Games medallist Yaroslava Mahuchikh, 20, won gold in Belgrade with a jump of 2.02m.

Eleanor Patterson on her way to claiming silver and setting a new national record. Credit:Getty Images

“I am incredibly proud of myself and my coach in being able to clear two metres and come away with a silver medal, you can never knock that,” Patterson said.

“Ukraine as a country [has] a very rich pool of talent of high jumpers and so the hardships they have been going through, no one deserves to go through, and the journey which they had to go through to get here is incredibly. Obviously, I was somewhere safe, and I didn’t have these threats and all these things.

“I painted my nails blue and yellow because you can’t talk much out there. There’s nothing much you can do to change the situation.”

Gold medallist Yaroslava Mahuchikh in action. Credit:AP

In Melbourne, McKenzie Little upstaged former world champion Kelsey Lee Barber in the javelin.

The 2019 world champion threw 60.31m – well shy of her world championship winning 67m – but could not match Little’s big throw of 61.13m.

“I am really happy with how I performed tonight on the runway – the distances, not so much. I think they’ll come,” she said.

“I am really happy to be back out here, I am in a much better state mentally than I was last year, and I’m really trying to soak that up and stand at the top of the runway with confidence to deliver the javelin.

“That’s what I was able to do tonight.”

Yaroslava Mahuchikh, centre, on the podium with Eleanor Patterson, left, and bronze medallist Nadezhda Dubovitskaya, of Kazakhstan. Credit:AP

The good news is Jacob Despard ran 10.11. The bad news is he had howling gale at his back.

The 25-year-old, who won the 2018 Stawell Gift, beat fellow Tasmanian Jack Hale to win the Melbourne track classic on a balmy night, which, although it was a generally still night in Melbourne it was a windy down the back straight at the Albert Park track. He had an illegal +3.4 wind at his back.

In the 200m, Ella Connolly continued her vein of form of recent weeks, after she had won the 100m and 400m in recent meets in Sydney and Adelaide, she followed up with a dominant display that was better measured by her distance from her competitors than by the clock. She ran 22.61 with a gale +4 pushing her along.

In AFL terms she was kicking with a seven goal wind.

“I ran a 400 in Sydney last week but definitely the ones and twos are the focus this season,” Connolly said.

She will run the two short sprints at the nationals in Sydney in a fortnight.

“I am trying to just run my best and hopefully qualify in either one or two for Comm Games and world champs, that is my goal,” Connolly added.

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