Nina Kennedy has claimed a breakthrough bronze medal, falling just short of the highest jump ever achieved by an Australian woman at a Commonwealth Games along the way.
It was a hot field in the women’s pole vault final at the Gold Coast Games, including Rio de Janeiro Olympic bronze medallist New Zealand’s Eliza McCartney, and another finalist from the Olympics, England’s Holly Bradshaw.
A finalist in last year’s world championships and bronze medallist in Glasgow four years ago, Canadian Alysha Newman emerged to win gold, raising the bar to 4.75m and clearing it at her first attempt to set a new Games record.
McCartney’s attempt to pass her at 4.80 fell short as she claimed silver.
Kennedy entered the competition at 4.30m and nailed it at her first attempt, doing the same at 4.40m and 4.50, 4.55 and 4.60. But the 21-year-old fell short in her three tries at 4.65m, with the second attempt agonisingly close. She took bronze ahead of Bradshaw because she nailed 4.60 the first time. Fellow West Australian Liz Parnov (4.40) finished in equal fifth.
“That was everything I dreamed of, it was amazing,” Kennedy told the West Australian. “Coming into this competition I think I was ranked fourth or something, it’s such a high standard this year so I’m just happy to be a part of it.
“To be honest, I wasn’t thinking. My heart was going so fast, nothing was going through my head. It’s only up from here, I hope.”