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Busselton pole vault star Nina Kennedy soaring at World Athletics Championships

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Carly LadenSouth Western Times
Nina Kennedy celebrates after clearing a vault on her first attempt.
Camera IconNina Kennedy celebrates after clearing a vault on her first attempt. Credit: Fred Etter/Athletics Australia

Busselton’s pole vault star Nina Kennedy has continued to confirm her status as a major contender for her first World Athletics Championship title.

The 26-year-old has made her presence known during the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, qualifying for the Women’s Pole Vault final with a perfect run of first-attempt clearances at 4.50m, 4.60m and 4.65m.

Kennedy was one of just four athletes in the 29-person field to achieve such a feat to secure automatic qualification for the final.

Following the qualification event Kennedy said while she was happy to clear each height in her first attempts, she was taken aback by the quality of the field.

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“4.65 is the highest we have ever had to jump to get into the final,” she said.

“If you look closely, the surface is slightly sloped down, so the girls were just jumping out of their skin tonight, so it’ll be good for the final.

“These girls, so many of them were jumping PBs out there and it’s a qualification.

“It’s fast, it’s hot and I think we will see some big heights in the final.”

Nina Kennedy in action during the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.
Camera IconNina Kennedy in action during the World Athletics Championships in Budapest. Credit: Fred Etter/Athletics Australia

Determined to improve on her bronze medal finish during last year’s World Athletics Championships, Kennedy said she was feeling good about her season so far.

“I started really well in Paris, I had a little hammy niggle and it took me a while to build back up but I’ve had some really good training sessions,” she said.

“Things have been snowballing and I think I’ve timed it really perfectly - I hope, fingers crossed.

“My process has stayed the same, but the belief I have in myself is a lot different (to 2022).

“I was going to Worlds last year hoping to do my best but now I come to these Worlds wanting to win.

“It’s no secret that I want to be on that podium and I want to be at the top.”

The Women’s Pole Vault final is scheduled to take place on Wednesday August 23 at 1:30am AWST.

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