First came the quad tear, then the hamstring, then the glute. To top it all off there were back joint issues.
It’s fair to say 2019 has been a year Nina Kennedy would rather forget.
“I probably had about five injuries from February to July,” Kennedy told emageogroup.com.
“I tore my quad, my hamstring, my glute and then I’ve had two back joint problems. It was a snowball effect. One led into the other. I was compensating, I wasn’t having enough training and we were kind of rushing back to try to get to worlds. I think it was a time thing and a body thing, it was a combination of lots of things.”
Things are looking up
But as the year comes to a close and with less than 12 months until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the exciting pole vaulter is finally feeling herself again.
Kennedy returned to jumping in recent weeks for the first time in three months.
“I thought about having a break but I just kind of continued rehabbing through,” Kennedy said. “I didn’t have a solid two weeks off or three weeks off, I just rehabbed the whole way through. I just thought I should keep going.
“I had a three-month break off jumping so that’s when I was just rehabbing and swimming and getting the body right.
“I’m finally starting to feel like it’s getting somewhere, which is good.
“Like anything, you do lose it a little bit so give it a couple more months and I think that’s when I’ll really start to feel confident and feel like I’m flying again, which is cool.”
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After the last 5 months filled with 4 different injuries, my team and I are stopping this season short. The last 5 months have been so hard in ways I never thought possible, even with the circumstances there are always positives to find and take away ✨💫 I’ll be back – watch this space.
Getting to the start line is the big challenge
Kennedy is an athlete for the big stage, but the 22-year-old hasn’t been able to get herself there often enough so far in her career.
Her bronze medal win at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast last year remains a standout moment and a reminder of her world-class talent.
“It was so long ago,” she said. “I look back and I’m like oh my gosh, I just wish I could be out on a track healthy and doing what I know I can do.
“It feels like the belief is slipping away a little bit, just because I haven’t done it in so long. But looking back on that, I know I can do it. I just need to put my body in the best possible shape and position to do that again. I just have to get there.
“When it does come to those really important comps, I know that if I am in good shape, I can jump high, like in previous years so it’s just getting the body right, the preparation right and getting to the start line healthy, which I haven’t done in like a year and a half now.”
And watching the world championships in Doha is helping keep what’s at stake front of mind.
“I wake up every morning to mum watching it and showing me on the TV,” Kennedy said. “I caught some of the women’s pole vault and some of the men’s pole vault but I actually want to watch those comps in full. They are so inspiring that hopefully that will just give me a bit of motivation to get through those really hard training weeks where you just feel so tired.
“Of course I am thinking about Tokyo. It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t. Everyone’s thinking about it. It feels so close. The work for then has to happen now.”