Patterson wins high jump gold at WC

·3-min read

A decade after winning a Commonwealth title as a shy teenager and four years after almost walking from track and field for good, the "new Eleanor" Patterson is the high jump world champion.

On a steamy hot day in Eugene, Patterson kept her cool when it mattered most, becoming the first Australian woman to win a world or Olympic high jump title.

The 26-year-old needed three attempts to get over 1.98m just to stay alive in what was a high-standard competition and another two at 2.00m.

Then came a brilliant first-up clearance at 2.02m that equalled the Australian record and which turned out to be the gold medal-winning jump.

Patterson's great Ukrainian rival Yaroslava Mahuchikh needed two tries to get over that height, handing the Australian the gold medal on countback after 2.04m proved a bridge too far for both of them.

"I didn't make it easy for myself," said Patterson, who became just the 10th Australian to win gold at a world athletics championships.

"The calibre of women I was up against was phenomenal and they were clearing everything first time, they were doing amazing things.

"There were a number of moments where I had to dig deep to remain alive and also secure a medal and then see if I could stay on top of the podium.

"And somehow I've been able to bring that to fruition."

Coming into the competition, Patterson's PB was 2.00m, set when she finished second behind Mahuchikh at the world indoors in Belgrade in March.

This time she was able to turn the tables.

"I knew I could clear that height (2.02m) and to do that on the first attempt was amazing," she said.

"I'm overjoyed I could even clear that height.

"I knew it was within me but to bring it out tonight under such pressure, I'm just so proud of myself."

After winning the 2014 Commonwealth title in Glasgow as a teenager, Patterson struggled to cope with the resultant pressure and attention.

She bombed out in tears at the Rio Olympics and then stepped away from the sport for a year after failing to get selected for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

But a shift to Sydney in 2019 to work with new coach Alex Stewart proved to be a career changer.

"Glasgow does feel like a lifetime ago but I'm a different Eleanor in so many facets," she said.

"In the last three years my life has changed so much,."

Italy's Elena Vallortigara claimed the bronze medal with 2m and Australia's Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Nicola Olyslagers (1.96m) tied for fifth.

Meanwhile, Stewart McSweyn gave himself every chance by going out hard in the men's 1500m final.

But 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,

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

Calab Law (20.72) and Jacinta Beecher (23.14) were run out in the semis of the men's and women's 200m, while Sarah Carli was untroubled in advancing to the 400m hurdles semi-finals by finishing third in her heat in 55.89.

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