VAULTER VAULTER

Aussie pole vaulters aim high for London

Australian pole vaulter Alana Boyd concedes she will probably have to set a new personal best if she is to finish on the podium at the London Olympics.

Boyd set a new Australian record when she cleared 4.76m at an interclub meet in Perth in February, beating Kim Howe’s national women’s record of 4.72m.

The 28-year-old heads to her second Olympics confident in the knowledge she’s in career-best form.

But Boyd knows she faces stiff competition in her bid to claim a medal.

Russian Yelena Isinbayeva, who holds the world record at 5.06m, is the one to beat in London, while American Jenn Suhr, Brazilian Fabiana Murer and Germany’s Martina Strutz are others to possess better PBs than Boyd.

Boyd said the pressure-cooker environment of the Olympics could open the door for any of the top women to medal, especially if conditions aren’t great.

“A podium finish would be fantastic. If you make the final, anyone’s a chance at a medal,” Boyd said on Thursday.

“I think 4.75m came third at the last Olympics.

“The standard has probably improved since then and obviously an Olympic year everyone steps it up a little bit, so it’s probably going to take a little bit higher to finish in the medals.

“But you never know with the conditions in London.

“It may not be conducive to high jumping and it’s just a matter of who can hold their form and nerve and go in there and fight for the medal.”

Boyd will be joined in London by her 18-year-old training partner Liz Parnov, whose dad Alex Parnov is Australia’s master pole vault coach.

Parnov had to move her university exams forward in order to accommodate her trip to London, and said she was hoping to match her personal best of 4.50m at her first Olympics.

“I’ve jumped reasonably well in the rain, so if it does rain I’m not too concerned because I seem to be all right in those conditions,” Parnov said.

“So maybe if it rains that could be an advantage to me.

“It feels good going to a major championship without any pressure or expectations. You can just go there and relax and do your best, and that’s when I seem to perform at my best.”

By JUSTIN CHADWICK

From http://wwos.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8476583

London Olympics

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