The women’s pole vault will feature for the first time on the 2015 Australian Athletics Tour this weekend and the nation’s best jumpers are set to compete.
Headlined by Australian record holder Alana Boyd (Qld), the event at the Jandakot City Track Classic in Perth (WA) is also set to feature high-flying sisters Liz Parnov (WA) and Vicky Parnov (WA), as well as their training partners and rising stars Emma Philippe (WA) and Nina Kennedy (WA).
Competing in heavy rain that prevented six of the ten starters from recording a clearance, Boyd won an impressive gold medal at Glasgow 2014 with a mark of 4.50m. The victory was her second consecutive at the Commonwealth Games and to date this year the 30-year-old has won two events on the Sunshine Coast.
Liz Parnov launched her 2015 campaign with a 4.20m clearance last weekend. A medallist at the IAAF World Youth and IAAF World Junior Championships, as well as the Youth Olympic Games, the 20-year-old is confident in her preparation for the Australian Athletics Tour and has her sights set on a strong opening leap on the national circuit.
“My training has been coming along great, we have made a few changes this season technically so I am looking forward to having a crack under some great conditions and atmosphere. I’m not chasing a certain height, but of course the higher the better so we shall see,” Liz Parnov said.
Philippe and Kennedy have launched their domestic season campaigns in perfect fashion, with both soaring to new career best performances already in 2015.
Second placed on countback behind Vicky Parnov, Philippe’s delivered her new PB of 4.30m at the Western Australia Athletics Championships. It provided the ideal start to a season that follows medals at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships and the Australian Athletics Championships in 2014.
Kennedy has made the final of the women’s pole vault at both the IAAF World Youth and the IAAF World Junior Championships. Her new career best of 4.41m from last month bettered the national under 20 record and she now has the 4.50m qualifier for the IAAF World Championships in her sights this season.
“I am so excited to have jumped a new personal best quite early in the year. I think it shows that I’ve had a solid injury free base and I’ve done a lot of good work. It’s given me confidence toward jumping bigger later in the season and that’s a great thing,” Kennedy said.
“4.50m is the qualifier for Beijing but I think I can clear it somewhere on the Australian Athletics Tour. It’s very high, but my major goal this year is to qualify for the World Championships so I need to be able to do it. It’s a big ask for me, but I want to finish the year knowing that I’ve done all I can to try and make it possible. That’s why I am going to jump this weekend, then in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne, as well as the Junior and Open Nationals in March.”
Australia’s best men will also take to the pole vault runway at the Jandakot City Track Classic this Saturday 14 February. Commonwealth Games representative Matthew Boyd (Qld) features on entry lists, alongside IAAF World Junior Championships representatives Jack Hicking (NSW) and Kurtis Marschall (SA).
In the men’s long jump, Robbie Crowther (Qld) will look to edge closer to the Beijing 2015 qualifier of 8.10m after his 8.03m leap to win at the Hunter Track Classic in Newcastle (NSW) last month, while the women’s high jump boasts Perth-local and Glasgow 2014 charge Zoe Timmers (WA).
The Jandakot City Track Classic continues the nationwide roadshow of the Australian Athletics Tour, and provides yet another opportunity for athletes to earn their entry to the two Tour Finals in Sydney (NSW) and Melbourne (Vic) next month. The 93rd Australian Athletics Championships, which double as the IAAF World Championships Selection Trial, will bookend the domestic season on the last weekend in March.