Athletics world in disbelief as Aussie makes high jump history

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Eleanor Patterson, pictured here after becoming the first Aussie woman to win world championships gold in high jump.
Eleanor Patterson is the first Aussie woman to win world championships gold in high jump. Image: Getty

Australia's Eleanor Patterson has jumped her way into the history books, winning gold at the athletics world championships in Oregon.

The 26-year-old became just the 10th Australian athlete to win a gold medal at the world championships with a thrilling triumph in the women's high jump.

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Patterson surged to the lead on a hot afternoon in Eugene with a first-up clearance at 2.02m - bettering her personal best by 2cm and equalling the national record in the process.

Ukrainian Yarolsava Mahuchikh was the only other jumper to get over at 2.02m, but she needed two attempts to achieve the feat.

Mahuchikh and Patterson then each missed three times at 2.04m, ensuring Patterson would win the gold on a countback.

Mahuchikh laid on the mat for a few seconds and put her hands over her face after missing her final attempt, but it could hardly be seen as a disappointment.

She is one of 22 Ukrainian athletes in Eugene this week for the championships, all of whom have been training far from home - some in Portugal, others in Spain.

Mahuchikh most recently trained in California after stops in Serbia, Germany and Turkey.

Her teammate, Iryna Gerashchenko, finished fourth - a spectacular comeback given her plight after bombs started falling in Kyiv.

Patterson is the first Australian woman to win a world or Olympics high jump title, while John Winter (1948 London Olympics) is the only Australian man to achieve the feat.

Patterson first burst to prominence when she won the Commonwealth Games title as an 18-year-old in Glasgow in 2014.

Eleanor Patterson, pictured here on the podium after the high jump final at the world championships.
Yaroslava Mahuchikh, Eleanor Patterson and Elena Vallortigara on the podium after the high jump final at the world championships. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

She endured some ups and downs in the intervening years before making the career-changing decision to link up with coach Alex Stewart.

Fellow Australian Nicola Olyslagers, the Tokyo Olympics silver medallist, finished tied for fifth with a best clearance of 1.96m.

The competition was thrown wide open by the enforced absence of three-time world champ and Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Mariya Lasitskene.

All Russian and Belarusian athletes are banned from competing in Eugene due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Fans and commentators have flocked to social media to celebrate Patterson's historic achievement.

Stewart McSweyn ninth in 1500m final

Meanwhile, Australia's Stewart McSweyn gave himself every chance in the 1500m final after going out hard from the start.

However he was unable to go with the leaders in the final lap of a race which was won in a boilover by Britain's Jake Wightman in three minutes 29.23 seconds - the fastest time in the world this year.

Norway's Olympic champ Jakob Ingebrigtsen was second in 3:29.47 and McSweyn finished ninth in 3:33.24.

Australia's Matthew Denny was sixth in a high-quality men's discus final, with his best effort of 66.47m coming in the final round.

Stewart McSweyn, pictured here after the 1500m final at the world championships.
Stewart McSweyn looks on after the 1500m final at the world championships. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images for World Athletics)

But no-one could get near Slovenia's Kristjan Ceh, who claimed gold with a massive throw of 71.13m.

Teenager Calab Law (20.72) bowed out as expected in the men's 200m semis and will now turn his attention to the world juniors in Colombia.

Jacinta Beecher was also run out in the women's 200m semis in 23.14.

Sarah Carli was untroubled in advancing to the 400m hurdles semi-finals by finishing fifth in her heat in 55.89.

As expected, world record holder Sydney McLaughlin from the US topped the timesheets with 53.95.

with agencies

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