Medal shot Alana Boyd is confident an untimely ankle injury will not hinder her Olympic campaign in the women’s pole vault, but admits it has hindered her preparation.
Having smashed her own national record with a clearance of 4.81m in Queensland last month, the 32-year-old Boyd arrives at a global championships as a genuine podium contender for the first time.
Boyd had intended to round out her Rio build-up with three meets in Europe in late July, but that plan was scrapped when she rolled her ankle during the warm-up at the Monaco Diamond League stop.
The good news was that it wasn’t nearly as serious as the ankle injury she suffered at the world indoors in Oregon in March. The bad news was that it happened so close to the Rio Games.
“It’s been a bit of a frustrating start to my Olympic campaign,” the two-time Commonwealth champion said.
“It was not nearly as bad as Portland – I didn’t end up on crutches and I could walk straight away.
“But it’s not ideal and it meant I had to pull out of the remainder of my competitions in Europe.
“The preparation hasn’t been what I thought it would be, particularly coming off the back of a new PB and Australian record, but I am back jumping and running, and I’m taping the ankle so I don’t do it again.”
American Jenn Suhr won gold at the London Olympics with 4.75m, but such has been the progression in women’s pole vault that Boyd figures it will take 4.8m or above to even get among the medals this year.
The Australian used a bigger pole than usual for her 4.81m clearance and has an even longer one in her kit bag for possible use towards the pointy end of the competition in Rio.
“I know I am going to have to jump my best or higher to medal and I think I’m capable of doing that,” Boyd said.
“It’s not a case of ‘oh yeah – get in the final and see what happens’. I expect to be in the final.”