Starc eyes Tokyo Olympics after Sydney win

Brandon Starc celebrates his high jump victory at the Sydney Track Classic.
Brandon Starc celebrates his high jump victory at the Sydney Track Classic.

A fit-again Brandon Starc is confident his best is to come at the Tokyo Olympics, having won the men's high jump at the Sydney Track Classic with the same height he cleared in last year's world championships final.

Starc, the 2018 Commonwealth Games champion, looms as one of Australia's best hopes of an athletics medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Sydneysider jumped 2.30 metres to finish sixth in the final of the 2019 world championships in Doha, where local hero Mutaz Essa Barshim won gold with a height of 2.37m.

Starc cleared 2.30m to win Saturday night's competition at Sydney Olympic Park, failing in his attempt to hit 2.33m but shaking off the rust in promising fashion.

"I'm pleased with 2.30, can't complain about that. I jumped that at world champs, so for second comp back this year it's pretty good," he told reporters.

"I wasn't really jumping to my capability ... felt OK but just didn't really nail it.

"I haven't done that many full run-ups yet. It's still only February, so plenty of time until Tokyo."

A year ago, the 26-year-old was sidelined with a bulging disc in his back.

The injury robbed Starc of a chance to compete in the 2019 Sydney Track Classic, but more importantly it meant he couldn't perform at his best in Qatar.

Starc is confident there will be no such issues later this year in the Japanese capital, declaring he will be better placed to perform at the Olympics than last year's world championships.

"I'm definitely well above what I was last year and Tokyo is kind of almost my second home, I've been there every year since 2014. So I'm going to feel very comfortable there, I'm looking forward to it," he said.

"I didn't have that consistency in my run-up going into Doha.

"Last week I cramped in my calf and this week I didn't, so that's a positive. The body is feeling good."

Eleanor Patterson and Nicola McDermott, who last week both equalled personal bests of 1.96m then unsuccessfully attempted the Australian record of 1.98m, had another high-quality showdown in the women's high jump.

The Tokyo-bound duo both cleared 1.94m then failed at 1.97m on Saturday, prompting McDermott to suggest it was exciting to think what might be possible at the 2020 Olympics.

"It's such a blessing to have Eleanor here ... she's definitely pushed me to that Olympic qualifier (jump)," McDermott said.

Bendere Oboya backed up her 400m victory at the Melbourne Track Classic by winning Sydney's race in 52.38 seconds, while Peter Bol won the men's 800m in 1:45.85.

Australian Associated Press