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McDermott jumps into medal contention for Tokyo

Australian high jumper Nicola McDermott has broken her own national record, clearing two metres with a jump that propels her into serious medal contention three weeks out from the Tokyo Olympics.

McDermott’s jump of 2.01 metres bettered her own record of exactly two metres to place second at the Diamond League event in Stockholm behind Ukrainian Yaroslava Mahuchikh’s 2.03 metres, which was the highest jump in the world this year.

Record: Nicola McDermott cleared two metres at the national championships in April and jumped higher again at the weekend.

Record: Nicola McDermott cleared two metres at the national championships in April and jumped higher again at the weekend. Credit:Getty Images

The 24-year-old’s 2.01 metres is the third-highest jump in the world for the year. She has five of the top ten heights cleared this year, putting her firmly in the medal frame for Tokyo.

Impressively, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Eleanor Patterson was third in Stockholm. After overcoming injuries during the domestic season, Patterson’s jump of 1.96 metres was her best for the season.

“Today was amazing to be jumping with Yaroslava and Eleanor and all of the high jump women. They are incredible, it really lifts me up over those heights. Today I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent, but I knew that didn’t mean it wasn’t possible to jump two metres. To do this today is a gift, it’s great,” McDermott said.

“I’ve got a good system and a good routine, but I have faith that allows me to jump a lot higher than my body is really capable of. I think 2.01 is certainly possible to be in the medals, so I’m aiming and training as if it’s already sealed and I’m just believing that I can do it.”

“To be surrounded by professional athletes is such an encouraging environment and I have really missed competing with the buzz in the atmosphere – it feels like home inside a major stadium.”

“To attempt 2.03 metres for a second time now is a dream, I really enjoy the feeling of flying once reaching those heights over two metres. Over the past few years when I have been growing my faith in God it seems to make my fears and doubts of what I can jump disappear, so I don’t see 2.03 as intimidating at all, just a fun challenge to overcome.”

McDermott said she had been inspired by Patterson and considered it a privilege to compete against her.

“To be sending the two greatest women in Australian high jump history to the same Olympics is so special,” she said.

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