Glasgow Games golden girl back to her best

Eleanor Patterson will again be aiming high at the Sydney Track Classic.
Eleanor Patterson will again be aiming high at the Sydney Track Classic.

Having fallen back in love with high jumping after essentially quitting in 2018, Tokyo-bound Eleanor Patterson is proof of how powerful a change in scenery can be.

Patterson set the bar remarkably high at age 18, clearing 1.94m to win gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and be anointed Australia's next golden girl of athletics.

Four years later, the Victorian failed to make the cut for Australia's Commonwealth Games team and then stopped training altogether amid a crushing "loss of identity".

Patterson shifted from Leongatha to Sydney on June 23, Olympic Day, last year to work with new coach Alex Stewart and has since gone from strength to strength.

The 23-year-old last week equalled her personal best of 1.96m, also the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying height, in wet conditions.

Patterson will on Saturday jump at the Sydney Track Classic, admitting the Glasgow Games feels like a lifetime ago.

"It was my first international comp and I was such a baby in so many aspects," she told AAP.

"There has been a lot of growth since ... I was very disappointed with how I competed at Rio (when she bombed out in qualifying on her Olympic debut). It was hard to take.

"I was still persistent after Rio until March 2018. Then I essentially quit athletics. I didn't compete for a year, I stopped training.

"There were definitely some low moments. Stepping away from athletics felt like a loss of identity, because it had been my life for so long."

Patterson worked as a teacher's aide during her break from the sport.

Stewart, whose squad includes 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Brandon Starc, remained in touch during her exile.

"He'd wish me well for training and things like that. There was a long time that I didn't want to admit I wasn't training at all to anybody," Patterson said.

"I felt like I needed a change to get back into it.

"I'd met up with him a couple of times and done some training then I made the move to Sydney. Learning from him day in, day out, is phenomenal.

"I feel very blessed to be in the place I am, physically and mentally ... that I've had this second opportunity."

Nicola McDermott, who cleared 1.96m and attempted the Australian record of 1.98m last week in Canberra like Patterson, suggested the duo can drive each other to greater heights in Sydney and beyond.

"It's both of our home towns now ... no greater honour to try and break the two-metre barrier there," McDermott said.

"The two of us are having fun together and when you are having fun, you are jumping highest."

Australian Associated Press