Tokyo Olympic Games silver medallist, and New South Wales Institute of Sport scholarship holder, Nicola Olyslagers, is one of seven global finalists from either last year’s World Athletics Championships or the Olympics who’ll compete in what’s being described as a ‘clash of the Titans’ at this month’s Maurie Plant meet in Melbourne.

The 27 year old enjoyed a spectacular start to the season by equalling her Australian high jump record of 2.03m in Canberra, a feat that was seen as a positive sign for her Olympic campaign.

The Central Coast-based athlete told Athletics Australia she was looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd at the by invitation only Maurie Plant meet which will be held at Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium on Thursday, 15 February.  

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to jump in front of an Australian crowd at the Maurie Plant Meet,” Olyslagers said. “In 2023 it helped me begin one of the best seasons of my career.

“Last year I was super consistent, I loved competing with the women on the circuit and I am hoping to bring that international presence to Melbourne.”

While Olyslagers will be striving to win her second Maurie Plant title, she’ll be competing against fellow NSWIS scholarship athlete, 19 year old Erin Shaw, one of the sport’s emerging talents.

The Olympic hopeful competed at last year’s World Athletics Championships and she said training alongside 2022 World Champion Eleanor Patterson – whose inspiring story launched the NSWIS Lights Up documentary series (see episode 4 below) – and Olympian Brandon Starc in coach Alex Stewart’s squad had helped her development.

“I’m very lucky to be in the position where we’ve got two, three really good Aussie high jumpers hat I can look up to, learn from and compete with as well,” said Shaw, who has a Personal Best of 1.9 metres.

“It’s amazing to be training with Eleanor and Brandon – they’re amazing people as well as amazing athletes and being able to learn from them  – the things they do to recover, how they prepare mentally for a comp – all of those things you don’t always get from watching them on the TV.

“It’s also really cool to be watching Nicola and how high she’s already jumped this season. Getting to compete with her in Oz is really cool as well.”  

NSWIS’s Samantha Dale, a two-times competitor at the World Athletics Championships, will take on national long jump record holder Brooke Buschkuehl in the first round of their quest to seal the title as Australia’s premier long jumper.

Other high profile competitors who’ll be competing at the meet include discus throwers Matthew Denny (AUS), Lawrence Okoye (GBR), Connor Bell (NZ), Taryn Gollshewsky (AUS), and Daisy Osakue (ITA); Javelin thrower Kathryn Mitchell (AUS); High jumper Hamish Kerr (NZ); newly crowned 100m sprint queen Torrie Lewis (AUS) v Zoe Hobbs (NZ).

Tickets for the Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne to be held at Lakeside Stadium on February 15 can be purchased HERE.

The Maurie Plant Meet – Melbourne will be streamed live and free via 7plus for Australian viewers, while international viewers can tune in via World Athletics.

Daniel Lane, NSWIS

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.