In times of uncertainty, Nina Kennedy has found the consistency to become the best pole vaulter in Australia.
In March, Kennedy broke the national record and vaulted 4.82 metres, conquering her previous best by seven centimetres.
Kennedy is just the 17th woman to jump 4.82 metres or more and after a dominant display at the Australian Athletics National Championships which she won by 35 centimetres, she will make her Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games in July later this year.
Facing challenges due to state borders being shut down, Kennedy labelled the month leading up to the national championships as interesting.
“It’s been a really interesting last month,” She said.
“I got stuck over here because WA shut the borders to Brisbane. It’s been a very interesting month in Sydney. But to wrap it all up with a national title here is pretty cool.
“It’s not ideal, but it is COVID. Everyone around the world is dealing with a lot worse, so I kind of just got on with it and jumped.”
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The 24-year-old hasn’t finished outside of the top three at an event since July of 2018 and hasn’t lost since March 2019. The confidence from those victories coupled with her consistently vaulting 4.70 metres or more in 2021 sets Kennedy up for a strong performance in her Olympic debut.
Reflecting on the postponement of the Olympics, Kennedy said that she took the year to improve and that it worked not only for herself but for many other Australian athletes.
“It was hard at the time when it did get postponed but I thought, in reality, this is just an extra year to be better,” she said.
“I’m still really young, so another year was going to make me better. I actually liked that it was postponed.
“I don’t think everyone did, but it worked for me.
“The year off helped everyone. There are just performances here left, right, and centre at the Australian championships, that I think overall, it has helped.”
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