Nina Kennedy’s job is to hit new heights. She could not have expected hitting the heights she has reached in the last year.
On Wednesday night, the pole vaulter became just the fifth Australian to win the prestigious Diamond League.
Nina Kennedy competes at the Diamond League in Switzerland.Credit:Getty Images
That victory came after she won bronze at the world championships in Oregon in July then Commonwealth Gold in Birmingham in August.
She follows high jumper Brandon Starc (2018), long jumpers Fabrice Lapierre (2016) and Mitchell Watt (2011), and sprint hurdler Sally Pearson (2017) as the only Australians to be Diamond League champions.
Kennedy won the pole vault Diamond League with a jump of 4.81 metres, which was one centimetre shy of the national record she set only last year.
More importantly, if the world bronze medal hadn’t already announced her as a serious player on the world standing and in the vanguard of the next generation of elite pole vaulters, then this victory for the 25-year-old certainly has.
Nina Kennedy celebrates with her trophy after securing the win.Credit:AP
“I’m really happy that the world and my competitors especially can see that I am now a factor,” she said.
“The Australian record of 4.82m in Australia was cool, but to come here and actually win against massive names has been super rewarding and cool.
“The plan is to just keep building. The girls that are winning medals and are up there are getting into their thirties. I definitely feel like I am one of the young ones coming through and I just want to continue this momentum.”
Kennedy’s victory earned her $44,000 and guaranteed her a place at the World Championships in Budapest next year.
“I would love to be on the podium in the next two years in Budapest and Paris [Olympic Games] – they are my goals for the next two years,” she said.
“People can definitely see that I am having fun in my performances. Once I did well at worlds and got that bronze medal, I had achieved everything I wanted to this season and I could go have fun, make money and enjoy it in a sense, which has been working for me.
“I have a lot of confidence right now. I can clear 4.70m so easily in training but in a competition environment, everything changes – you have nerves, expectation, the crowd. I have been on the podium all season and such a good run, I just know how to clear those bars now.”
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