Bronzed Aussies at World Championships

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Sydney University Athletics Club members Nicola Olyslagers and Mackenzie Little have won bronze medals at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest.

Olyslagers cleared 1.99m in the women’s high jump, the same height as countrywoman Eleanor Patterson, who claimed the silver medal. Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh cleared 2.01m to win the gold medal. Little won her bronze medal in the women’s javelin with a throw of 63.38m. Japan’s Haruka Kitaguchi won the gold with a 66.73m effort, with Colombia’s Flor Denis Ruiz Jurtado taking the silver with a throw of 65.47m.

Olyslagers (B.Biochemistry), who won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games and bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, got the bronze behind Patterson on countback with a second-time clearance at 1.99m. It was just the second time Olyslagers hasn’t come first in 11 competitions this year.

“What I love is that we are both so unique in the way that we jump, the coaches we have, the lifestyle that we have,” Olyslagers said. “Australia has done really well in complementing where we are, rather than putting us into a box where it has to be done this way or that way.”

Little (D.Medicine), who won a Commonwealth Games silver medal in Birmingham last year, was on her second World Championship team. She was in fifth place with one throw to go in the final, and she was almost out of time. To get on the dais she needed to find at least another 1.5m with her last attempt. Her

63.38m throw was good enough to launch her into the silver medal position, but Kitaguchi then launched a 66.73m effort to not only leap-frog Little and force her into the bronze medal, but jump clear into the gold medal from fourth place.

Little caught the first plane out of Budapest to fly back to Sydney to be back on duty at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney where she’s competing her internship. She graduates in December as Dr Little, but is already affectionally known as ‘Dr Javelin’.

“This is absolutely a dream. This is the highlight of my career,” she told SMH’s Michael Gleeson. “If I’m honest, it didn’t all come together on the sixth (throw). I have more, I’m so excited to show you I have more at the Diamond League final and next year (at the Paris Olympic Games).”

SUAC had seven other members at the World Championships. Sprinter Rohan Browning (B.Arts/Laws) finished second in his heat of the 100m in 10.11 to make it to the semi-finals. He ran the same time in his semi-final to finish 4th but finished 14th overall to miss a place in the final which was won by the USA’s Noah Lyles in 9.83), with Botswana’s Letsile Taboo (9.88) claiming silver and Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes taking bronze.

Shelly Jenneke (B.Mechatronic Engineering graduate) ran 12.71 to finish third in her heat of the women’s 100m hurdle and make it to the semi-finals where she finished 5th (15th overall) to miss a placed in the final which was won by Jamaica’s Danielle Williams in 12.43, with Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (12.44) taking silver and the USA’s Kendra Harrison (12.46) taking the bronze.

Cam McIntyre (B.Human Sciences – Macquarie University) finished 17th overall in the men’s javelin with a throw of  78.10m, while high jumper Erin Shaw (B.Applied Science/Advanced Studies) cleared 1.90m to finish 14th in her qualification round and missed out on a berth in the final.

Allana Pitcher (B.Engineering/Science)  finished 21st of 42 starters in the women’s 35km walk, while Jacob McCorry (M.Applied Economics – Macquarie University) finished 5th in his heat of the 110m hurdle in 13.67, with Nick Andrews (B.Commerce – Macquarie University) finishing 9th in his heat of the same event in 13.92. Both missed berths in the final with McCorry finishing 28th overall and Andrews 39th.