The world awaits pole vaulter Alana Boyd (Qld), with the two-time Commonwealth champion set to continue her preparation for the Olympic Games on the international circuit just days after raising her own national record to 4.81m.
Delivering an impressive return to competition after an injury sustained in a fall in the warm-up at the IAAF World Indoor Championships earlier this year, the performance confirms the 32-year-old’s status as one to watch in the hotly contested women’s pole vault at Rio 2016.
“The jump on the weekend was the perfect lead-up to Europe. I’m looking forward to getting over there. A jump in the 80’s is something I always hoped I could do and now having done it with five weeks to go until the Olympic Games, it’s a huge boost. I am feeling good about where I am at,” Boyd said.
“Consistency is key in the pole vault. It’s something that I have been able to do in training and now it’s about getting it done in competition. You always want to keep improving and hopefully the three upcoming competitions allow me to do that. I’ll be jumping alongside the girls that will be there in Rio and I am keen to dial myself in to what that competition will be like.
“The fall at the World Indoors was disappointing. I felt like I was in shape to jump like I did on the weekend then and it’s awesome to know that I am back where I believed I was at. The injury forced me to take a break earlier than I would have liked, but since getting back out there it has been business as usual.”
Boyd, who is coached by her father Ray Boyd, is likely to open her European competition schedule at Round 8 of the IAAF Diamond League in Monaco (MON), before confirmed starts at a pole vault meet in Jockgrim (GER) and the Anniversary Games in London (GBR). She will then descend on the athletics team’s Olympic Games preparation camp in Bradenton (USA), where she alongside newly announced team captain, Jared Tallent, form part of the leadership group.
“It’s fantastic to see that Jared has been named as captain. I’m really looking forward to working with him and the other athletes to lead the group. We have such a big team, and a young team too, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to instil some wisdom from my experiences, helping them to a great performance,” Boyd added.
“It’s awesome to see Kurtis Marschall as one of those young athletes too. It was great to see him clear the Olympic height in Mannheim. It’s a fantastic place to jump and he had a day out. It gives him the ideal preparation for Bydgoszcz and then he has the bonus of Rio, where we will be there alongside him, supporting this great opportunity.”
The road to Rio 2016 is fast becoming a busy one for both Australia’s selected and aspiring Olympians.
As soon as tonight, Brittany McGowan (Qld) will continue her push for women’s 800m qualification in Mataro (ESP), before Nik Bojic (Qld, high jump) competes at the Downunder Meet and Steven Solomon (NSW, 400m) and James Nipperess (NSW, 3000m SC) start in Kortrijk (BEL) with a Rio 2016 standard in their sights this weekend.
Entry lists on the Gold Coast (Qld) this weekend also boast the Olympic Games selected Morgan Mitchell (Vic, 400m), Anneliese Rubie (NSW, 400m), Michelle Jenneke (NSW, 100mH) and Brooke Stratton (Vic, long jump).
The IAAF World Indoor Championships silver medallist Fabrice Lapierre (NSW) returns to the long jump runway in Lignano (ITA) next week, before jumping again in Monaco (MON). Entry lists at the latter event also feature Ryan Gregson (Vic, 1500m) and Kathryn Mitchell (Vic, javelin).
Australia’s best junior talent are now in the final stages of their preparations for the IAAF World Under 20 Championships in Bydgoszcz (POL). Based at a high performance institute in Spala (POL) currently, the team will descend on the host city on 13 July before competition commences.