Home Australia Australia has a new contender for Olympic gold after its star did the unthinkable in a race that stunned the athletics world

Australia has a new contender for Olympic gold after its star did the unthinkable in a race that stunned the athletics world

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Jessica Hull is the fifth-fastest 1500m runner in history after a stunning performance in Paris that vaulted her into medal contention at the Games.

Australian runner Jessica Hull has broken her Oceania record in the 1,500 metres with an impressive performance and has established herself as a contender for the Olympic title.

Hull broke her own record at the Diamond League meeting at Stade Charlety on Sunday but was no match for Kenyan great Faith Kipyegon, who set a new record of three minutes 49.04 seconds.

Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh also set a world high jump record in a remarkable competition, providing both a pre-Olympic warning and inspiration to Australian rivals Nicola Olyslagers and Eleanor Patterson.

The two records were broken within an hour of each other, with double Olympic champion Kipyegon bettering her own mark by 0.07 seconds after world champion Mahuchikh eclipsed one of the oldest women’s marks by clearing 2.10 metres in the high jump.

In the metric mile, Hull celebrated her second place finish with a time of 3:50.83, notably eclipsing her own Australian and Oceanian best of 3:55.97 by more than five seconds to jump to fifth on the world all-time list.

“Seeing my name in fifth place is crazy. The goal of the entire preparation process this year is to put myself in a position to win a medal in Paris,” said the 27-year-old athlete.

‘That goal doesn’t change, I just have to stay healthy and do it on the day that matters: August 10.

“I was a little kid with an Olympic dream and I grew up wanting to go to the Olympics. I didn’t think it was possible to do 3:55, so to think about going under 3:50 now is crazy.”

Jessica Hull is the fifth-fastest 1500m runner in history after a stunning performance in Paris that vaulted her into medal contention at the Games.

Hull (pictured, right) smashed her national record by an incredible five seconds to take second place at the Paris Diamond League.

Hull (pictured, right) smashed her national record by an incredible five seconds to take second place at the Paris Diamond League.

Kipyegon kicked the bell to open a gap on Hull, striding forward to improve the world record he set last year in Florence.

Hull was second in the first race, which saw 12 women finish in under four minutes, including compatriot Linden Hall, fourth in a lifetime best of 3:56.40.

Mahuchikh had previously cleared the 2.09 metres set by Bulgarian Stefka Kostadinova at the 1987 World Championships in Rome 37 years ago by one centimetre.

World indoor champion Olyslagers, impressing after a month out with injury, challenged the Ukrainian as they both cleared 2.01m at the second attempt.

But the 27-year-old New South Wales jumper missed three times at 2.03m, while Mahuchikh managed to clear it at the second attempt to win the competition.

She then jumped 2.07m to set a Ukrainian record, raising the bar to a world record of 2.10m and achieving her goal on her first attempt.

“I have finally written Ukraine into the history of world athletics,” said 22-year-old Mahuchikh.

‘My coach told me that maybe I should stop because the Olympics are coming up – and of course that’s more important – but I felt I could do it and, to be honest, I wanted to try to get the world record.’

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweeted: ‘Thank you, Yaroslava, for raising the flag of Ukraine so high and achieving this victory for our country and our people.

“Every victory of this kind is incredibly important to our strength and unity.”

Hull has now joined the list of Australian athletics stars who could be in the spotlight when the Olympics begin in less than a month.

Hull has now joined the list of Australian athletics stars who could be in the spotlight when the Olympics begin in less than a month.

Patterson, the 2022 world champion, could only finish fifth with a jump of 1.95m.

“It wasn’t just Yaroslava’s victory, it was the story of the women’s high jump, which is the victory of all of us. When you see someone do it once, the door opens for you,” Olyslagers said.

“She’s an incredible competitor and friend, and watching her do that has given me the key to keep going.”

Australia’s Stewie McSweyn had a promising performance in the 3000m, finishing second behind Kenya’s Jacob Krop in 7:28.83.

Pole vault hopeful Kurtis Marschall leapt 5.75m and took sixth place in a competition inevitably won by Armand Duplantis.

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