Athletics: High jumper Hamish Kerr smashes national record to continue stellar season

High-flying Kiwi Hamish Kerr has set a new national high jump record in Slovakia to continue his unbeaten start to the season.

The Commonwealth champion sailed clear of 2.34m, bettering his previous watermark of 2.31m by 3cm to clinch another podium-topping finish at the Banksa Bystrica indoor meet.

The 26-year-old achieved his winning height at the first time of asking to defeat Andriy Protsenko, the world championship bronze medallist from Ukraine, setting a new Oceania indoor record in the process, dethroning Australian Tim Forsyth (2.33m).

Kerr also earned the automatic entry standard for August's 2023 world athletics championships at Budapest, where he'll try to add to the bronze medal he won at Belgrade last year.

The victory in Slovakia backs up Kerr's title-winning efforts in the Czech Republic and Poland.

"I'm stoked," said Kerr. "We've put so much work in, and made some big calls over the last 12-18 months about how I train and the approach that I take with my team, so this affirms we are on the right track. 

"I've always said I want to be the best in the world and this is a decent step in the right direction."

He'll finish his European indoor campaign at Birmingham on February 26, returning to the scene of last year's historic Commonwealth triumph, where he became the first Kiwi to medal in the men's high jump.

The Christchurch-based athlete will then return home for the New Zealand track and field championships in March.