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Boyd vaults into fourth place in final

20 August 2016

ATHLETICS: Alana Boyd has finished fourth on a countback in a thrilling women’s pole vault final at Rio’s Olympic Stadium tonight.

Boyd cleared 4.80m, just one centimetre below her personal best, to be in the final five competitors but couldn’t successfully clear 4.85m, which would have placed her in the medals.

“I’m a bit in disbelief I think,” Boyd said.

“To jump 4.80, one centimetre below my best, at the Olympic Games, I guess I can’t really be disappointed.

“But I know that’s there’s more in me and I think tonight, it wasn’t pretty, it was a bit messy, and a little bit all over the place, but I gutsed it out ... I'm happy but I'm sad."

Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece won gold with a vault of 4.85m on a countback ahead of Sandi Morris of the USA, also on 4.85.

New Zealand’s Eliza McCartney won the bronze on a countback with a mark of 4.80m.

Boyd’s performance capped a memorable night for Australia’s women at the track, with Eloise Wellings and Madeline Hills recording top-10 finishes and Hills and Genevieve LaCaze both running personal bests in the 5000m final and our 4x400m relay team qualifying for the final.

In the women’s 5000m final, Wellings ninth in 15:01.59, Hills 10th in a personal best time of 15:04.05, while LaCaze achieved another personal best time to finish 12th in 15:10.35 in another superb performance by the Australian trio.

Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot won gold in an Olympic record time of 14:26.17 ahead of her countrywoman Hellen Obiri in 14.29.77.

Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana, the 10,000m gold medal winner and world record holder, won bronze in 14:33.59.

“If anyone had told me it would turn out like this I would not have believed them,” LaCaze said after the race.

“It’s been a dream these past seven days, I’ve PB’d again and again.”

Our women’s 4x400m relay team of Jessica Thornton, Anneliese Rubie, Caitlin Sargent and Morgan Mitchell finished fourth in their heat to qualify for the final with one of the fastest non-automatic qualifying times, of 3:25.71.

“We just screamed as loud as we could,” Thornton said of their reaction when their final spot was confirmed.

“We were having fun, I think that’s what got us across the line,” Morgan added.

Australia joins USA, Jamaica, Ukraine, Great Britain, Canada, Italy and Poland in the final.

David Taylor

olympics.com.au

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