Starc to end high jumping drought

9 August 2013

ATHLETICS: Having ended a long Australian drought in men's high jumping, teenager Brandon Starc will be front and centre for one of the best events at the world athletics championships.

Starc will become the the first Australian man to contest the event at a world titles since Olympic and world bronze medallist Tim Forsyth back in 1999.

And he has done it right at the time when the crowd-pleasing discipline is enjoying a welcome resurgence.

Ukraine's Bohdan Bondarenko is the gold-medal favourite, having cleared 2.41m - the biggest jump in the world for 19 years - last month in Switzerland.

Bondarenko also had a recent crack at bettering Cuban legend Javier Sotomayor's 20-year-old world record of 2.45m in London - and could do so again in Moscow.

Qatar's Mutaz Essa-Barshim has also cleared 2.40m this year - the type of height not seen since the 1990s.

"I was in London for the Diamond League when Bondarenko attempted the world record," said Starc.

"I stood up for each of his attempts because I couldn't believe he was actually attempting that.

"Just being in that competition was amazing, just how many high-calibre athletes there were in and around the 2.40s this year .. my head was exploding.

"But I'm just going to worry about myself and they can do what they please - it's a major championships and anyone can crack under pressure.

"If I do everything I can do to jump as high as I can then I've done my job."

Like his brother and Test cricketer Mitchell, the younger Starc is long and lean - although he's nowhere near as imposing as the likes of the 1.97m Bondarenko.

"They're more developed as athletes and I feel quite skinny and small compared to them, because most of them are really big, tall and very strong," said Starc, who set his PB of 2.28m at the national trials in Sydney in April.

"But I know they're not that much different as people.

"I just need to keep training hard and I think I can be at that level."

John Salvado/AAP

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