Nina Kennedy will embark on this week’s Australian Athletics Championships on the Gold Coast in the form of her life.
The Perth pole vaulter has recorded successive personal bests at local meets and will now aim to add Commonwealth Games selection to her qualification mark for the March IAAF World Indoor Championships in the UK.
Kennedy on Friday night soared clear at 4.71m which puts her in sight of national record holder Alana Boyd, whose height of 4.81m set on the Sunshine Coast in 2016 remains the benchmark.
A top three finish at the Australian Championships will earn Kennedy qualification for a first Commonwealth Games campaign and a first national team appearance since the 2015 World Championships in China.
At 20 years of age, Kennedy has begun 2018 in stark contrast to a wretched 2017 run, which saw the talented U20 national record holder forced out of last year’s World Championships in London with a quad muscle injury.
Kennedy’s resilience however, has seen a fit, fresh and focused athlete storm back to national attention as she prepares to be one of the headline acts at this week’s titles on the Gold Coast.
Liz Parnov also showed promising form at the Perth track meet clearing 4.40m. Parnov will provide Kennedy’s firmest challenge for national honours at Carrara Stadium.
Brianna Beahan ran a quick 100m hurdles in Perth, setting 13.15secs for another Games’ B-Qualifier. Beahan has flirted with the A-Qualifying time of 13.01 all season and a top three spot at nationals would all but secure the local talent a spot on the Australian Flame team.
Following the tragic passing of men’s national javelin record holder Jarrod Bannister last week, Cruz Hogan achieved an emotional personal best on Friday night, throwing 75.32m whilst wearing a black arm-band in Jarrod’s honour. Hogan described the achievement as bittersweet and dedicated his performance to the Olympian’s memory.
Kim Mickle’s women’s national javelin record was passed over the weekend by 35 year-old Victorian Kathryn Mitchell. Mitchell threw 67.58m (pending official verification) but is set to claim the national honour from Mickle’s 2014 mark of 66.83m.
There was celebrations for emerging WA track and field talent Sasha Zhoya last Thursday night after the 15 year-old was crowned WA Junior Sports Star of the Year at the WA Sports Star Awards hosted at Perth Stadium.
Zhoya’s dominant campaign at the Australian junior titles was adjudged the most impressive effort by a WA U18 athlete and the mercurial youngster was present to accept his award, confirming he would not yet choose which discipline he plans to focus on, instead enjoying his sprint, hurdles, long jump and pole vault spread.