New South Wales Institute of Sport scholarship athletes, high jumpers Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers continue their Olympic preparation, with Patterson finishing second at a meet in Finland, and Olyslagers withdrawing from all competition to overcome a ‘niggle’ to ensure she’s primed to enter ‘new territory’ in Paris.

Patterson was presented with the silver medal at the 2024 Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, after finishing second to local athlete, Ella Junnila, who leapt 1.97m.

The Australian, who won the 2022 world championship title, cleared 1.94m but admitted during the post event media call that she’d made ‘hard work’ of the contest.

“It was a tough competition out there for me personally,” said Patterson. “I started well and had some good jumps in there. I was getting a lot of bar love when clearing the bar, a bit of a wobble here and there.

“I was finding my rhythm a little bit awkward. I made it hard work for myself. I would have loved to come away with a 1.97m. I have been constantly hitting 1.90m and not really [been] progressing where I know I can.”

However, with the countdown for the opening ceremony of Paris looming, Patterson said she could take many positives out of the result.

“I take that little step and little win,” she said. “I know I have much more in me and hope to bring it out in Paris. It was wonderful to be out there, with an incredible atmosphere,

“I love the surface and Ella obviously did incredible. It was wonderful to have someone push me along. Complete hats off to her, it was very impressive.

“It’s been a slow start to me this year, I have had a lot of injuries in the last couple of years, and I have not been able to get a lot of work under my belt. So, this year the preseason was big.”

Patterson will compete at the upcoming meet at Brno in the Czech Republic before basing herself in Madrid until competing in Paris.

Meanwhile, Olyslagers, who won the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, announced via social media that she was focusing on being in tip top condition for Paris.

“I am no longer jumping this month in the planned competitions,” she wrote. “I will be using the time to get a niggle sorted and build strength to press on to new territory. 

“Thankful for the amazing support I have had by the communities in Europe and back home, and can’t wait to be jumping again soon!

“The Lord can use an interrupted plan to bring a fulfilled promise, so I am confident in hope that all will work out for good!”

NSWIS scholarship athlete, and aspiring 19-year-old Olympian, Erin Shaw, finished in eighth place at the Paavo Nurmi Games after jumping 1.75m.

Daniel Lane, NSWIS

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