Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers make Aussie athletics history at world champs

The Aussie high jumpers helped Australia set a new record for medals won at a single world athletics championships.

Nicola Olyslagers and Eleanor Patterson in the high jump final at the world athletics championships.
Nicola Olyslagers (L) got the bronze, while Eleanor Patterson took silver. Image: Getty

Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers have won silver and bronze in the women's high jump final at the world athletics championships in Budapest, helping Australia make history in the process. Patterson and Olyslagers won Australia's fifth and sixth medals of the meet - the nation's most at a single world championships since they began in 1983.

It also marked the first time in world championships history that Australia have won multiple medals in the same event. Coming into the championships in Budapest, the most medals Australia had ever won at a single competition was four - in Seville in 1999 and Berlin in 2009.

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But Patterson and Olyslagers joined Nina Kennedy (gold in pole vault), Kurtis Marschall (bronze in pole vault), Mackenzie Little (bronze in javelin) and Jemima Montag (silver in the 20km race walk) to write their names into the history books with six medals for Australia. Patterson was the defending world champion in the high jump after winning gold in Eugene last year.

She is on the comeback trail after undergoing surgery to have a plate inserted in her broken left foot in February, and twice bettered her season's best to move into the silver-medal position with a first-time clearance at 1.99m on Sunday night (local time). But Ukrainian star Yaroslava Mahuchikh won the gold as the only jumper to clear 2.01m.

Mahuchikh was one of 29 Ukrainian athletes competing at the worlds in Hungary this week. It marked the first gold medal for Ukraine at the meet, and the second overall - adding to a silver won by Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk two nights earlier in the triple jump.

"I am so proud to win this gold for my country," she said. "I can't wait to go back and show this medal to my coach."

Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers at the world athletics championships.
Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers won silver and bronze in the high jump at the world athletics championships. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Eleanor Patterson's brilliant comeback after injury

Patterson said of her rival: "She has been such a pillar of strength for her people and representation for them. In such trying times, to see her come away with such a victory for her nation, it's an incredible story."

Patterson said she believed she was capable of clearing two metres in the final, and maybe more, despite her limited preparation. "I definitely put my back up against the wall," she said.

"I'm proud of the performance tonight and of Nicola as well. It's been a tough year and having third-attempt clearances showed that I didn't have many comps under my belt. I made it tough for myself but I'm just incredibly proud that I was able to come through with 1.99, a season's best."

Olyslagers, who won silver at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, got the bronze behind Patterson on countback with a second-time clearance at 1.99m. It was just the second time Olyslagers hasn't come first in 11 competitions this year.

"What I love is that we are both so unique in the way that we jump, the coaches we have, the lifestyle that we have," said Olyslagers. "Australia has done really well in complementing where we are, rather than putting us into a box where it has to be done this way or that way."

Australia's record-breaking medal haul at world championships

Nevertheless, Australia finished the nine-day titles in Budapest with a record haul of medals. The only disappointment might be the fact they couldn't grab one more gold (after Kennedy in the pole vault), which would have equalled the country's record of two - set on three previous occasions.

The only other Australian in action on the final day of the championships in Budapest was Stewart McSweyn. He finished 13th in a men's 5000m final won by Norwegian superstar Jakob Ingebrigtsen in 13 minutes 11.30 seconds.

The world championships will go down as Australia's best of all time, with Marschall's pole vault bronze making him the first Aussie man to claim a spot on the podium since Fabrice Lapierre won silver in the long jump in Beijing in 2015. The previous nine medals won by Australians at the world championships were all claimed by female athletes.

with agencies

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