Rising star Brandon Starc will give Australia a presence in the men’s high jump at a major athletics championships for the first time in 13 years after breaking into the team for the world titles in Moscow in August.
The younger brother of Test cricketer Mitchell Starc won his first national title on Saturday, adding 5cm to his personal best with a clearance of 2.28m.
It ensured he would be among the 25 Australians named Wednesday in a preliminary squad of 25 which could grow to 60 in time for the August 10-18 world championships.
Starc’s rapid improvement ends a barren run for Australia in the men’s high jump following the retirement of Olympic and world championships bronze medallist Tim Forsyth after the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
“I’m lost for words with the PB and the national title,” said the 19-year-old Starc.
“I knew I was capable of it because I’ve been jumping well this season.”
“It means a lot to make the team, not just for me but for my whole support crew.
“Last year I didn’t do as well as I wanted at the world juniors so that pushed me a bit more.”
Starc was one of nine Australians to force their way onto the team by virtue of their individual performances at last weekend’s national championships in Sydney, along with 800m runner Kelly Hetherington, sprinter Josh Ross and javelin thrower Kim Mickle.
The likes of reigning world and Olympic 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson and London Games medallists Mitchell Watt (long jump) and Jared Tallent (50km walk) were pre-selected.
Sprinter Melissa Breen and 2009 discus world champion Dani Samuels missed the trials due to injury, but will be added to the squad once they return to full fitness.
Collis Birmingham’s recent eighth-place finish at the world cross country championships will also earn him a start in the 5000m or 10,000m in Moscow.
Other athletes have until late July to meet the selection criteria for a team which head selector Dion Russell believes could top 60 athletes if all four relay squads make the cut.
Australia won three medals and finished eighth on the overall medals table at the 2011 world championships in Daegu, South Korea.