HEY BRO, I CAN FLY HIGH TOO
HIGH-JUMPER Brandon Starc is challenging his older brother for the headlines after becoming the second-biggest jumper in Australian history.
The Sydneysider, 21, soared 2.31m to register an automatic qualifying spot in tomorrow’s world championships final.
While he has had to play second fiddle in the publicity stakes to his cricket star brother Mitchell, the younger Starc is starting to capture the attention of the athletics world.
His leap – which moves him to No.2 on the all-time list – is the biggest jump by an Australian since Tim Forsyth cleared 2.32m to win the national title in Melbourne in March 1988.
And it is the first time the green and gold has been represented in a world championships final since Forsyth won the bronze medal with a clearance of 2.35m at Athens in 1997.
Starc’s previous personal best was 2.30m which he jumped in Sydney in March.
“The track out there is phenomenal, one of the best that I have ever jumped on,” he said.
“The crowd was loud. The conditions were warm and I felt great in my warm-up.
“My run-up wasn’t quite there for the early jumps, but at 2.31m it was spot on.
“I had some room to move and jumped quite well.”
The qualifying round did have its anxious moments, with the two-time Australian champion clearing 2.26m and 2.29m on his third attempts before nailing 2.31m on his first.
Starc finished eighth in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games final last year, clearing 2.21m, and did not get out of the qualifying at the Moscow world titles two years ago.
“I’m more mature here,” he said. “I know what it takes to jump well now.
“The positions I have to put myself into, the rhythm.
“Things like that I’m now more aware of, and this year I have had a good lead-up.
“My last competition was a 2.27m jump, my body is healthy, and I just had to put myself into the position to jump well. And now I’m into the final.”
Australia’s other representative, Joel Baden, jumped a season’s best 2.26m but did not make the qualification cut-off.
In the women’s 100m hurdles last night, emerging talent Michelle Jenneke was unable to secure a place in the final.
Jenneke finished fifth in the semi-final with a time of 13.01s, a hundredth of a second quicker than her heat.
In the first semifinal, American Dawn HarperNelson, won gold in 2008, fell at the second hurdle.