Long jumper Brooke Stratton is on target for Commonwealth Games gold after impressive lead-up form.If Brooke Stratton had jumped like she did on Wednesday night at the last Commonwealth Games, she would have won gold.
So it’s understandable why the 24-year-old’s first instinct after her final warm-up event was to ensconce herself in as much cotton wool as she could possibly find.
Victorian long jumper Stratton was selected for Glasgow 2014 but had to withdraw due to a stress fracture in her back and carried injuries into the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“I think that makes this a little bit more special,” she said.
“I think this is the first major championships I’m actually going into knowing that I’m nearly at my best, or I hopefully will be at my best.
“It’s really exciting.”
With the aid of a strong wind in her back, Stratton cleared 6.88m – twice – at the Queensland International Track Classic on Wednesday.
Not bad considering she was battling another stress fracture in her foot at the end of last year, interrupting her preparations.
“I did lose a lot of confidence, actually, early in the season because I knew that I wanted to be jumping further,” she said.
“I just had to try and stay confident and everyone around me believed I could get back to decent shape come Comm Games and I’ve been able to do that.
“I’ve been able to progress by basically 10cm each competition, so hopefully with another two weeks under my belt, who knows?”
Stratton’s jump in Brisbane was still only enough to get her second place behind Canada’s Christabel Nettey (6.92m).
Even third-placed Shara Proctor of England (6.84m) cleared the 6.56m mark that garnered Nigerian Ese Brume a gold medal in Glasgow four years ago.
But it left Stratton in no doubt that if she repeats that sort of performance at Carrara, she will go close to topping her personal-best of 7.05m – produced in March 2016 to shatter a 14-year n and Oceania record.
That would almost certainly put her on top of the podium.
“It’s so exciting, the thought of it,” Stratton said of competing at a home Games.
“I’m trying not to think about it too much because I know I’ll probably be extremely nervous on the day.
“But it’s just going to be great knowing that there’s going to be so many people out there supporting us Aussies.
“It’s going to be unreal.”