By James Brosnan
ELEANOR Patterson is still coming down from the record breaking highs of last weekend’s Australian All-Schools Championships in Townsville.
The Leongatha high-jumper smashed her personal best jump by four centimetres, clearing 1.96m and very nearly going 2cm higher.
Patterson’s achievements are gaining the full attention of those in and around the athletics world.
The 17 year-old was the subject of a feature article by Michael Gleeson in the Saturday Age.
“To put her effort in clearing 1.96 into perspective, it was the highest jump by a 17 year-old female. Ever. Anywhere in the world. Of any nationality,” Gleeson penned.
National junior high jump coach Sandro Bisetto, who coach Commonwealth medallist and three-time Olympian Tim Forsyth, told the Age of Patterson’s obvious potential.
“She won the World Youths Gold this year at 1.88m but to jump 1.96m is incredible,” Bisetto said.
“Only 12 women have jumped 1.96 or better as a junior (under 20) and she has two more years left as a junior.
“Of that group of 12 they have since gone on as seniors and won two Olympic gold medals and three world championship gold. Seven of the women have won Olympic or world championship medals as seniors.
“Eleanor is in elite company. She could be a once-in-a-generation athlete, a one-in-a-five generations athlete.”
Speaking on 3mfm’s ‘All sorts of Sports’ on Saturday morning, Patterson said her progress in the past six months was yet to hit home.
“It definitely hasn’t sunk in; I knew I could jump high but to jump 1.96 and to come away with a result in the Ukraine as World Youth Champion is absolutely crazy,” she said.
The jump gave Patterson her second Commonwealth Games qualifying height, but she is yet to decide whether she will pursue a spot at the Glasgow event which begins in July in 2014.
“We are not sure what I am doing next year at the moment. I have two competitions that I can go to which are the Commonwealth Games in Scotland or the World Junior Championships in America,” Patterson said.
Unfortunately, the events’ schedules clash.
“I don’t really have a preference at this point. I would love to go to the Com’ Games for the experience but then the World Juniors is a good competition too, I’m not really fussed,” she said.
“To qualify to go to the Commonwealth Games I still have to jump and win at the Australian Opens which is not until April.”
Although thrilled with her 1.96 jump, Patterson has been quick to readjust her focus to going to 1.98.
“In Townsville I went for the 1.98 and I was so close, I would love to do it. Any PB I’m happy with,” she said.
Patterson will continue her training over the festive season to ready herself for the Country Victoria Championships, her first competition of the New Year at the end of January.
The Mary Mackillop College student will need to mix her athletic pursuits with her VCE, making for a hectic 2014.
“I go into Year 12 next year so it is going to be difficult, but I am only doing four subjects so hopefully that will give me a bit of lenience to do what I need to do with training and competition,” Patterson said.
“When competitions come around I will need to take some school work with me.”