06 January 2016
Australian high jumper Brandon Starc is setting the bar high after a two week training camp at the AIS and says big brother, Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc, is helping to inspire his international progress.
Starc last year became the first Australian male high jumper to qualify for a world championships final since Tim Forsyth in 1997.
Buoyed by that result, Starc is now focusing on the 2016 Rio Olympics and Forsyth’s long-standing national record of 2.36m.
Starc jumped a personal best 2.31m at last year’s world championships in Beijing.
“I think I can go higher,” Starc says. “A goal is to jump 2.33m this season or maybe a little bit higher. I’m 22 now so relatively still young in the world of high jump. So I think I need to get some more training behind me, but I think I can improve a little bit more and maybe challenge that 2.36 of Tim Forsyth].”
Forsyth took bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and Starc – a Youth Olympics silver medallist in 2010 - is on track to make his Olympic debut at Rio in August.
Starc admits he had doubted himself at major championships until his breakthrough performance at last year’s world championships.
“The whole experience was pretty incredible but to actually perform at a major championships, that was the biggest thing I took away from it,” Starc said.
“Coming away with a world champs final and being top-12 in the world it gives me a lot of confidence to go into this season, knowing that I am good enough and I can go and mix it with the best in the world.
“World champs I jumped a PB but I felt there was a little bit more. The final didn’t go quite to plan so I think there’s a lot more to give there. I’m only going to be stronger and more confident going into Rio … Definitely a final, if not a sneaky top-eight … I could even sneak a medal, who knows.”
Starc’s older brother. Mitchell Starc, cemented his place as an opening boelwer with the Australian cricket team last year before injury halted his summer. Brandon Starc said Mitchell’s progress had inspired his own development in athletics.
“To see my brother succeed and represent his country it gave me a lot of motivation to try and do the same. At that time when I was young and didn’t really know what it took, but seeing him train and seeing all the hard work he puts in and how dedicated he is, it kind of shows that I could do it. He’s been a massive inspiration for me.
“He’s kind of have the season of his life [in 2015] and so have I, so hopefully we can both keep pushing on and pushing each other to keep going.”
Starc and coach Alex Stuart benefitted from a training camp in Finland last year, but felt the AIS could offer them a one-stop training shop ahead of the Australian summer.
“Here at the AIS you’ve got everything in a five minute walking vicinity, you’ve got your food, recovery track, gym - it just makes it a lot easier to get a good two week block of training in.”