Glasgow, United Kingdom; 1 March, 2024 –  Olympic silver medallist Nicola Olyslagers (NSW) is officially on top of the world, becoming the fifth Australian woman to win global gold at the World Athletics Indoor Championships when taking out the Women’s High Jump in Glasgow this morning.

Olyslagers soared to victory on Day 1 of the championships, delivering a clutch performance that saw her secure her first world title on her third and final attempt at 1.99m.

 

The competition had narrowed down to a thrilling duel between the Australian and world-leading defending champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh (UKR), as the battle for gold intensified at the 1.97m mark.

With clean sheets for the duo over the early heights, it was Olyslagers that was looking like being forced to settle for silver after failing her first attempt at 1.97m, but the 1.99m bar set the stage for the climax of the competition.

Nicola Olyslagers in Glasgow (© Dan Vernon)

The pressure was palpable with both athletes missing their first two attempts at 1.99m, before the tables turned as Olyslagers seized the moment with incredible focus when soaring over the bar, with Mahuchikh unable to respond.

The feat etched her name into the history books as the fifth Australian woman, alongside Australian greats Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, Tamsyn Lewis, Sally Pearson and Kerry Saxby as Australian women to win indoor gold.

“I’m feeling really thankful for today. I went into the competition willing to challenge myself knowing I hadn’t competed indoors before, and I actually wasn’t aiming for the medals today,” Olyslagers said.

“Every height, I knew I had to take it as it came and not be overwhelmed by what is around me. My competitors looked so comfortable and it took me a while to combat all the doubts that were in my head.

 

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“I got to 1.99m, and the first two attempts were just off. I thought, ‘wait a minute, I jumped this two weeks ago at the Maurie Plant Meet on a cold night with a headwind. I know I’ve got this inside of me!’  I had a decision to make – was I going to listen to these doubts, or do what I needed to do?

“I journaled that perfect love casts out fear and really thought about that… the next thing I knew, I was running and it was rhythmic, and it was a 10/10 jump. The gold medal is just the icing on the cake.”

Coached by Matt Horsnell, Olyslagers now owns an Olympic silver, a World Championships bronze and now a gold medal at the last major championships prior to Paris 2024, but she will not be resting on her history of success at the Olympic Games which begin in 146 days time.

“With more success, there is more responsibility. If I get confident now, I will get comfortable and I won’t train the way that I need to. This will almost be like a memory for me about what’s possible, but I don’t want to settle. I want to keep achieving new things.”

In other results from the Australian team, national 800m record holder Catriona Bisset (VIC) made light work of the opening round of her campaign on her 30th birthday, achieving an automatic qualifier for the semi-final on Saturday night.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – AUGUST 23: Catriona Bisset of Team Australia competes in the Women’s 800m Heats during day five of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 at National Athletics Centre on August 23, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Leading from the front, Bisset stayed strong from the gun to the finish line, only putting her foot on the brakes in the last 100m, confident in her ability to finish second in 2:02.04 behind Switzerland’s Audrey Werro (2:01.83).

Olympic finalist Linden Hall (VIC) was valiant in her approach to her 1500m heat and though she has not progressed to the final, the Australian record holder over the outdoor distance attacked her race with style, pushing her way to the front early in the race. Leading through to the final two laps, Hall was unable to keep the momentum, eventually finishing fifth in 4:09.83.

Linden Hall: Rio 2016

The World Athletics Indoor Championships continues tonight at 11.30pm AEDT, as Bisset goes in for round two, while middle distance supremo Jessica Hull (NSW) goes for her second global medal in the Women’s 3000m on Sunday morning at 7.15am AEDT.

Australian audiences can watch it live and free on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand, with full replays available after the conclusion of each session.