Brandon Starc leaps to triumphs

BRANDON Starc doesn't give brother Mitchell fast-bowling tips.

High-jumping is a different story, however.

"When he celebrates after taking a wicket I give him tips on his jumping technique," he said. Joke, folks.

But Starc's approach to high-jumping is no joke.

There's no other way to say it: Starc has been scaling new heights since getting fair dinkum about it three years ago.

A silver medal at the Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010; a gold medal at an international under-23 event in Germany last August, consecutive national junior titles, third in the Australian senior title this year . . .

Now the 18-year-old from Baulkham Hills is off to the world junior titles in Barcelona in July.

The great leap upwards coincided with Starc's linking with coach Alex Stewart, and specifically the coach's coming to the Hills Sports High for the jumper's last year in year 12.

"That was handy," Starc understated.

Pre-Stewart, Starc was a cricketing fast bowler like his Australian Test brother Mitchell, played a bit of soccer and didn't specialise in athletics, dabbling in hurdles and triple jump as much as the high jump.

"I thought he had five or six centimetres in him and he went from 2m to 2.07cm in one comp before, so I shouldn't be surprised," Stewart said after the Singapore silver.

"But I am."

Stewart said Starc's greatest quality was his mental strength under pressure.

"I think he can go a really long way."

Barcelona, at least.

Strength — Starc said that was what he was working on to make further great leaps upwards. That and technique.

"There are two types of jumpers — power jumpers and speed jumpers," he said.

"I'm a speed jumper but I'm not super-quick."

He's a mere slip of a lad, too, compared with his towering 195cm older brother.

The stringbean 70kg Starc is 187cm, not tall by high-jumping standards, and he hopes to creep up a few more centimetres.

He said Stefan Holm was an inspiration.

Sweden's famed Holm was just 181cm but won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics and had a best jump of 2.40m. Starc's best is 220cm and he has an immediate peak ahead.

"I'm aiming for 225cm in Barcelona and the high 220s should be close to a medal," he said.

"My ambition is the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro."

Post high school, he's fitting in a part-time physical education degree.

And post the amateur sporting world, he's learned the clues.

He asked with hesitation if his sponsor might be given a plug, so here's the spruik — Asics.

That's in stark contrast to another time, such as when Australia's John Winter was a surprise winner at the 1948 Olympics in post-war London.

Dare it be said: Starc's high old time is ahead.

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