Pole vaulter Alana Boyd has soared into Rio Olympics medal contention, smashing her own Australian record by 4cm.

The dual Olympian and two-time Commonwealth Games champion cleared 4.81m on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, bettering the national record of 4.77m she set in January.

The spectacular clearance was 6cm higher than the gold medal-winning mark by American Jenn Suhr at the 2012 London Games.

It also bettered the Oceania record of 4.80m which teenage Kiwi sensation Eliza McCartney cleared at New Zealand’s national championships in March.

The result comes only three weeks after Boyd made her comeback from an ankle injury sustained at March’s world indoor championships.

The 32-year-old managed 4.55m in her first meet back and went on to clear 4.60m at last weekend’s North Queensland Games, before Saturday’s massive improvement.

She flies out on Friday to begin her Europe campaign ahead of August’s Games in Brazil.

Meanwhile, Australia is set to add another new face to its Olympics track and field contingent after Selma Kajan bettered the 800m qualifying standard in Barcelona.

The 24-year-old clocked a personal best of two minutes 1.27 seconds to become the first Australian woman to post a qualifier in the event.

It ensures the country has at least one female athlete qualified in every Olympics track event for the first time since Sydney 2000.

Among those still chasing a Rio athletics qualifier is London Games 400m finalist Steve Solomon and 800m runners Alex Rowe and Brittany McGowan.

Solomon again fell just short of the 45.40 target in Switzerland on Saturday with a 45.91 finish.

He now has eight days to get it done before the qualifying period shuts.

“I know the qualifier is within me,” Solomon wrote on his Instagram page. “Two more races in the next week before the qualification period closes on July 11th.

“It’s been a tough last few races but the positive comments and wishes mean so much and are so motivating.

“Let’s keep pushing forward and see what I can do in the coming days.”


From: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/olympics/rio-2016/alana-boyd-breaks-australian-pole-vault-record-to-surge-into-rio-medal-running-20160703-gpxbmu.html

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