Canada's Newman sets national record to claim first place in pole vault

PARIS — Canada's Alysha Newman set the new national record while claiming first place in women's pole vault on Saturday at the Paris Diamond League meet.

The 25-year-old from London, Ont., cleared 4.82 metres, smashing her previous Canadian record of 4.77.

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Katerina Stefanidi of Greece was second at 4.75 while American Sandi Morris was third, also at 4.75. Both Stefanidi and Morris are previous world champions.

Newman said after her victory that she had been trying to reach her winning height for two years.

"Now I can sit down and relax and plan the next six weeks. It means a lot to do this," she said. "When you wear your heart on your sleeve in this sport and put so much into it, waking up early and travelling the world all the time, it makes it all worthwhile when it all comes together like this.

"This time last year I was so sad, I was sitting watching all the other girls compete while I was eating donuts so to be back out here is amazing. I'm just really, really excited about what happened today."

The victory was Newman's first on the Diamond League circuit. She finished second last weekend at the Muller Grand Prix in Brimingham, U.K.

In other results Saturday, Michael Mason of New Westminster, B.C. finished first in the men's high jump, clearing 2.28 metres to win the event.

"I knew I had a good one in me and I don't think I could have done much better on the day," Mason said. "I was happy to get over 2.28 but it's all about that next bar. I want to focus on the process of getting to (the track and field world championships in) Doha more than the event itself.

"In the high jump this year anything is possible on the day. It'll probably take 2.30 metres or higher to get a medal and I'm going to go in with that kind of mind frame."

Aaron Brown of Toronto finished third in the men's 200 metres in 20.13 seconds. American Noah Lyles was first in 19.65.

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