Nicola McDermott becomes first Australian woman to break high jump’s 2-metre barrier

High jumper Nicola McDermott has become the first Australian woman to break the 2-metre barrier, setting a national record at the Australian track and field championships in Sydney.

McDermott cleared 2.00 metres on Sunday, beating the previous mark of 1.99m set last year by her domestic rival Eleanor Patterson.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist then had three unsuccessful attempts at 2.03m.

McDermott and Patterson — who missed the Olympic trials with a leg injury — have both achieved the Olympic qualifying standard for the Tokyo Games.

The 24-year-old McDermott said she drew inspiration from a biblical passage written on her left wrist during this afternoon’s competition, which doubles as Australia’s Olympic selection trials.

“What was written was fearless hearts are birthed in perfect love and that’s from Jesus and 1 John 4:18,” she said.

“That’s been my verse because I was always scared of two metres.

“I knew in my body I could do a lot higher but the fear aspect of high jump is the thing that gets to you with the mind.”

Meanwhile, Dani Stevens claimed a piece of Australian track and field history with her 14th national women’s discus title.

By pocketing the gold medal with a best throw of 62.74m, Stevens became the first Australian to win the same event 14 times at national level.

She had previously been tied on 13 with now-retired triple jumper Andrew Murphy, who coached Rohan Browning to victory in the men’s 100m final on Saturday night.

There had been fears last year that Stevens would never throw again after a gym accident forced her to undergo neck surgery on a bulging disc.

“I’m back to as close to 100 per cent as I could have hoped for,” Stevens said.

“I feel like I have some power and velocity in my arm which if I wasn’t close to 100 per cent then I wouldn’t have.”

Dani Stevens has been one of Australia’s best-performing athletes for more than a decade.(

AP: Tim Ireland, File


Stevens first shot to prominence in 2019 when she became the youngest ever women’s discus world champion at the age of 21.

She also claimed silver at the 2017 world championships and would dearly love to win her first Olympic medal in Tokyo, having finished fourth in Rio in 2016.

In other results, Jye Edwards powered past Australian middle-distance star Stewart McSweyn to win the men’s 1,500m final.

As expected, national record holder McSweyn surged away from the pack from the starting gun.

What was more unexpected was that Edwards went with him and stayed there throughout the race, before powering to the front in the final straight.

Edwards’s winning time of three minutes and 33.99 seconds guaranteed him a spot on Australia’s Olympic team, while McSweyn (3:34.55) must choose between the 1,500m and 5,000m, as the Tokyo program will not allow him to contest both events.


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