Boyd breaks Australian pole vault record
4 July 2016
ATHLETICS: Pole vaulter Alana Boyd believes she's in the best possible shape for a tilt at an Olympic medal in Rio after breaking her own Australian record by 4cm.
The dual Olympian and two-time Commonwealth Games champion cleared 4.81m on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, bettering the national record of 4.77m she set in January.
The spectacular clearance was 6cm higher than the gold medal-winning mark by American Jenn Suhr at the London 2012 Games.
It also bettered the Oceania record of 4.80m which teenage Kiwi sensation Eliza McCartney cleared at New Zealand's national championships in March.
Boyd's result comes just three weeks after her comeback from an ankle injury sustained at March's world indoor championships.
"It was devastating to get that injury," Boyd told AAP.
"But thankfully it was as good an outcome as you can expect.
"It didn't really put a dampener on my preparation for Rio, and probably left me a little bit hungry to come out and see what I could do."
In her first meet back, the 32-year-old managed 4.55m.
She then cleared 4.60m at last weekend's North Queensland Games, before Saturday's massive improvement.
This weekend Boyd heads to Europe, where she hopes to compete in the Monaco and London Diamond League meets along with a small pole vault event in Germany before August's Brazil Games.
By her own standards, she's made big strides since finishing 11th at last year's world championships in Beijing.
"That 4.81 ranks me fifth in the world, and the highest jump is 4.86, so there's only five centimetres between those top-five jumpers.
"It's very close and will be interesting to see what happens at the Olympics.
"Getting through into the final is the first step.
"Once you're there with the top-12 girls it will be tough, but in saying that I'm in the best shape of my career.
"That gives me great confidence."
Meanwhile, Australia will add another new face to its Olympics track and field contingent after Selma Kajan bettered the 800m qualifying standard in Barcelona.
The 24-year-old clocked a personal best of two minutes 1.27 seconds to become the first Australian woman to post a qualifier in the event.
It ensures the country has at least one female athlete qualified in every Olympics track event for the first time since Sydney 2000.
Among those still chasing a Rio athletics qualifier is London Games 400m finalist Steve Solomon and 800m runners Alex Rowe and Brittany McGowan.
Solomon again fell just short of the 45.40 target in Switzerland on Saturday with a 45.91 finish.
He now has eight days to get it done before the qualifying period shuts on July.
"I know the qualifier is within me," Solomon wrote on his Instagram page.
"Two more races in the next week ... let's keep pushing forward and see what I can do in the coming days."