Brooke Buschkuehl has rocketed into medal contention for the upcoming world athletics championships by breaking her own Australian long jump record.
Only three months after returning to competition having recovered from knee surgery, Buschkuehl (nee Stratton) produced a huge 7.13-metre jump in Chula Vista, California on Saturday (Sunday AEST), bettering her previous best of 7.05m set way back in March 2016.
It lifted her to the top of the 2022 world rankings in a huge confidence boost ahead of the world championships starting in Oregon on Friday and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
“It’s always the way it is with the long jump – the jumps that feel effortless are the ones that are the furthest,” said Buschkuehl.
“I felt like I flew through the air, and where I landed, I had a bit of a gauge of where it could have been, and when I saw it was over the 7m mark, I was shocked.
“It seemed insane given where I’ve come from. The jump felt amazing and it helped that I had great conditions.”
Buschkuehl first began experiencing knee pain in late 2020, although she was able to make it to last year’s Tokyo Olympics, where she finished a creditable seventh.
“I was really happy with that because I didn’t think I’d get there with the training I had done leading up to it,” said the Victorian, who turns 29 on Tuesday.
“Then post-Tokyo, it was an absolute battle. I had surgery in September last year, and was told that I would be running after 10 weeks.
“In January this year, my knee was probably the worst it had ever been in terms of pain and it took me ages to start running again. I’ve only been jumping since early April.”
Buschkuehl boasts an impressive record at the top level, including top-seven finishes at the past two Olympics, top 10s at the previous two world championships and the silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“It’s crazy because of how hard things have been for me,” she said. “I tried so hard to stay positive even though I was doubting myself for so long.
“We’ve got two weeks until the women’s long jump competition [at the world titles in Eugene] and I couldn’t think of a better place to be at.”
Buschkuehl’s winning effort of 7.13 metres was enough to displace Germany’s reigning world and Olympic champion Malaika Mihambo atop the 2022 world list.