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Boyd a gallant 11th at world titles

27 August 2015

ATHLETICS: Alana Boyd (Qld) has managed a gallant 11th in the women’s pole vault at Beijing 2015, in what was arguably the most hotly contested vault final in the history of the IAAF World Championships.

Entering the competition at 4.35m, Boyd nervously missed her first attempt before making light work of the opening mark. A first attempt clearance at 4.50m followed before sailing over 4.60m on her second jump.

The bar was then raised to 4.70m, with ten girls remaining in the event at this height. It is the first time ever that ten girls have remained with the bar this high. Five athletes stumbled at this mark, including the two-time Commonwealth champion. Yarisley Silva (CUB) won gold with a 4.90m clearance.

“The competition was always going to be fierce out there. A lot of the have started pushing up into the four-seventies and eighties and decent conditions meant that it was going to be good, and it was,” Boyd said.

“I was a bit messy, all over the place I guess, but given that three weeks ago I was questioning whether I’d just be here to make up the numbers, I’m not shattered, but I’m not happy.

“I’ve got more there. It wasn’t technically my best jumping. That’s exciting, but annoying because it is a missed opportunity. I’ve got to go home and train the way I have in the past few weeks. I can get consistent and tough it out when I need to. I can do it.”

Boyd’s performance is the highest ever by an Australian at a major international championship, excluding a 4.62m leap by Kym Howe at the Commonwealth Games in 2006. It is an improvement on the 4.55m that Boyd cleared at the Daegu 2011 world titles four years ago, and a mere five centimetres shy of her season best of 4.65m.

Boyd was joined in the Bird’s Nest tonight by Ella Nelson (NSW), competing in the heats of the women’s 200m. An IAAF World Championships debutant, the national champion clocked 23.33 to cross fifth.

Nelson did not progress to the semi-final, but the experience of competing alongside the Australian Flame will bode well for her as she prepares to build toward becoming an Olympian in 2016.

“I was really excited warming up and getting out there. The race is just a race, but when I got out there I felt a bit alone. It’s all you, your thoughts and how you deal with them. I’m happy that I had a crack,” Nelson said.

“This has been an absolute motivation. I’ve learned so much from some of the other girls on this team, building on the experience. It’s a great preparation for a crack at something better in Rio.”

In other Australian results on day five of the IAAF World Championships:
- Nicholas Hough (NSW) lined up for the first round of the men’s 110m hurdles, clocking 13.69 (w: -0.7) to place sixth in his heat. His time was not enough to see him progress to the final.
- Brett Robinson (Vic) and Collis Birmingham (Vic) started in the heats of the men’s 5000m. Robinson lined up in a very tactical heat one and crossed 10th in a time of 13:49.63, while Birmingham crossed 15th in the much quicker second race, clocking 13:34.58. Both athletes will not progress to the final.
It is a huge day for the Australian Flame tomorrow, with the green and gold start in every event in the morning session.

On track, Madeline Heiner (NSW, 5000m), Eloise Wellings (NSW, 5000m), Michelle Jenneke (NSW, 100m hurdles) and Ryan Gregson (Vic, 1500m) will compete, while entry lists in the field boast Julian Wruck (Qld, discus throw), Benn Harradine (Qld, discus throw), Eleanor Patterson (Vic, high jump) and Brooke Stratton (Vic, long jump).

Please note that Emily Brichacek (ACT) has withdrawn from the women’s 5000m due to injury.


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