High jumper Starc begins Olympic gold bid

Eamonn Tiernan
High jumper Brandon Starc this week begins his quest to add Olympic gold to his Comm Games success

One of Australia's best Olympic medal hopes in track and field, high jumper Brandon Starc this week makes the next leap in his quest to top the podium in the Japanese capital.

Starc announced his top-flight credentials by finishing sixth at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, last year and says 2020 is "all about Tokyo and medals".

The 26-year-old will be looking to improve his personal best of 2.36 metres when he kicks off his season at the Canberra Track Classic on Thursday, and he believes a similar mark could be enough to become Olympic champion.

"Canberra is a fresh track," Starc said. "I know it's the first comp (of the season) but if it's dry and sunny we could be on for something big.

"This year 2.38m would be great. Last year I thought I was good for it but an early back issue made that a little bit more difficult than I thought.

"If 2.38m doesn't win (Olympic gold) then it's going to be a mighty hot Olympic Games.

"2.37m won the world champs and looking at history for the Olympics, around that mark is the winner.

"If I get a PB this year that would be great but to be honest it's all about Tokyo and the medals. If you don't need a PB to win then I'm not too fussed (about getting one).

"I've had a couple of jump sessions so far and the signs are looking quite good."

Starc won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in front of a home crowd on the Gold Coast and said he would relish the pressure of being Australia's leading jumper in Tokyo.

"I don't really get nervous too much any more," Starc said.

"The last big nerves I got was first jump at Comm Games, since then I haven't really got nervous at all.

"I do like pressure and if there is pressure in Tokyo I feel like I'd handle it quite well."

Nicola McDermott and Eleanor Patterson will lead the female high jumpers in Canberra, with both looking to become the first Australian woman to break 2.00m.

The men's 100m is shaping as a blockbuster, with Jack Hale, Rohan Browning and Kiwi Edward Osei-Nketia all looking to break 10 seconds for the first time.

In the women's 800m Catriona Bisset has her first race on home soil since breaking the Australian record with a time of 1 minute 58.78 second in London last year.