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Patterson soars to world high jump silver

High jumper Eleanor Patterson has soared to a silver medal and an Australian record at the world indoor athletics championships in Belgrade.

But despite clearing the landmark two metres mark, the 25-year-old Patterson had to give best to young Yaroslava Mahuchikh, who earned an emotional victory for Ukraine in the Serbian capital.

Patterson thrust herself from a bronze to gold medal-winning position by recording her new national and Commonwealth indoor mark of 2.00 metres at the second attempt in Saturday’s final.

It added a centimetre to the record that she set in February in Slovakia and put her on course to become the first Australian woman ever to win a field event title in the 37-year history of the championships.

But the 20-year-old Mahuchikh, driven to win for her invaded country, responded with a first-time clearance of 2.02m, the best jump in the world in 2022.

After one failure herself at 2.02m, Patterson, the former Commonweath champion from Leongatha, Victoria, who gave up the sport disenchanted for a year in 2018, tried to raise the stakes to earn the biggest win of her career by shooting for an improbable 2.04m.

But two failures at that height meant that, like her domestic rival Nicola McDermott, who was second in the Olympics last year, she had to settle for silver in a global competition.

Australia’s 15-strong team, the biggest sent to the championships, could be looking at another medal from multi-event star Ash Moloney, who brushed off worries over a knee injury to stay in contention in the heptathlon on Saturday’s second day of the seven-event discipline.

With just the 1000 metres left to run later on Saturday in the Belgrade Arena, Moloney was still clinging on to third place on 5504pts, well behind the two leaders, Switzerland’s Simon Ehammer (5634) and Canada’s Olympic decathlon champ Damian Warner (5611).

Moloney, the 22-year-old who won decathlon bronze behind Warner in Tokyo last year, had to withdraw as a precaution during Friday’s fourth event, the high jump, because of pain from his troublesome knee.

But he was fit enough on Saturday morning to clock a rousing 7.78sec in the 60m hurdles and followed up with a lifetime best pole vault of 5.10m.

Two other Australians reached middle distance finals in impressive fashion.

Melbourne’s Catriona Bisset will go into the 800m final on Sunday evening as second fastest qualifier after continuing her fine form by clocking 2min 01.24sec as runner-up in the fastest heat behind the impressive Ethiopian Habitam Alemu.

US-based Ollie Hoare made it into the 1500m final, also finishing runner up in his heat in 3:38.43.

The man to beat, though, will be Norwegian phenomenon Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who recently broke the world record and eased ominously into the final, finishing second in his heat.

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