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Australian Athletics Team enjoys best-ever medal haul in Budapest

Budapest: Australian athletics is set up for one of its greatest-ever Olympic campaigns at Paris 2024, with Team Australia finishing its most prolific World Athletics Championships in Budapest with a record medal haul of six. 

Collecting one gold, two silver and three bronze medals, Australia’s competing team of 64 delivered memorable performances that saw them place 8th on the overall placing table after nine days of competition. The team also achieved eleven Top-8 performances, and a collective total of 18 Top-16 placings, as well as a further three national records, three personal bests and four season’s bests.

At the heart of this success were the exceptional performances of the country’s newest global medallists. Nina Kennedy (WA, Paul Burgess) led the way as she soared to the top of the podium with a national record of 4.90m in the Women’s Pole Vault, all the while inspiring the sporting world with her sportsmanship in sharing the gold medal and world title with USA’s Katie Moon.

Continuing in the theme of strong Australian women in sport, equal Australian high jump record holders Eleanor Patterson (NSW, Alex Stewart) and Nicola Olyslagers (NSW, Matt Horsnell) made history becoming the first two Australian athletes to share a podium at the World Athletics Championships, when flying over 1.99m claim silver and bronze respectively, only separated on countback.

Medicine students Jemima Montag (VIC, Brent Vallance) and Mackenzie Little (NSW, Angus McEntyre) demonstrated the possibility of reaching new heights, claiming their maiden global medals while balancing their academia. Montag walked to a national record, shaving 11-seconds off her personal best to win silver in the Women’s 20km Race Walk, while Little produced a clutch 63.38m final throw to grab onto bronze in the Women’s Javelin; both extending the country’s rich history of success in their events.

Inspired by Kennedy’s domination of the Women’s Pole Vault, training partner Kurtis Marschall (WA, Paul Burgess) became Australia’s fifth world championships medallist in the pole vault and the first Australian man to land a spot on the podium since Fabrice Lapierre and Jared Tallent. Soaring to 5.95m to equal his personal best, Marschall won bronze.

The Hungarian capital also delivered a number of Top-8 performances, with athletes on the cusp of a podium finish. Matthew Denny (QLD, Dale Stevenson) etched his name into the history books with a 68.24m throw of the discus to break a decade-old Australian discus record by four-centimetres, and Declan Tingay (WA, Brent Vallance) valiantly placed eighth in the Men’s 20km Race Walk, achieving the fastest time by any Australian at a World Athletics Championships in a time of 1:18.30.

Athletics Australia General Manager – High Performance Andrew Faichney said the results from these Championships is just the beginning of what is possible when this crop of athletes converge again at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“We couldn’t be more proud or impressed by our team and their performances this week. Claiming six medals was terrific but equally great was having so many finalists and semi-finalists, showing that our team is really on track for our most successful Olympic Games since 1968,” Faichney said.

“Our team has made history this week in claiming more medals than we ever have before, but what excites me is their potential in Paris. At Mexico 1968, we won six medals by some of the country’s greatest athletics stars including Ralph Doubell, Pam Kilborn, Peter Norman, Raelene Boyle, Maureen Caird and Jenny Lamy. This team has the potential to be as successful and inspire the nation in the same way as some of those athletes did back then.

“I have been extremely impressed with how much the standard has lifted since the last World Athletics Championships in Oregon last year. We have successfully built upon those results and it’s clear that the performances from last year inspired the whole team to lift, whether it be to their first national team, first finals, first medals or even in the case of Nina, her first world title.

“While we leave successful, we also recognise there is still much room for improvement and with 11 months to go, we know this is achievable. This has been as much of a learning opportunity for our athletes ahead of the Olympics and it has given all of our athletes and coaches an insight into the standard of competition that we’ll see next year.

“The future is certainly looking bright, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve as a group throughout the domestic season at home and all the way into Paris 2024.”

Australian medalists at the 2023 World Athletics Championships:

Gold:

·       Nina Kennedy – Women’s Pole Vault (4.90m)

Silver:

·       Jemima Montag – Women’s 20km Race Walk (1:27:16)

·       Eleanor Patterson – Women’s High Jump (1.99m)

 Bronze:

·       Mackenzie Little – Women’s Javelin (63.38m)

·       Kurtis Marschall – Men’s Pole Vault (5.95m)

·       Nicola Olyslagers – Women’s High Jump (1.99m)

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