Nina Kennedy
Nina Kennedy celebrates her dominant win in the Commonwealth pole vault final. Image by Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS
  • athletics, track and field

Pole vault gold for Nina Kennedy

John Salvado August 3, 2022

Third in the world, first in the Commonwealth and all in the space of two weeks – no wonder Nina Kennedy is very proud of herself.

Twelve months after the crushing disappointment of bombing out in qualifying at the Tokyo Olympics, Kennedy restored Australian supremacy in the Commonwealth Games women’s pole vault with an utterly dominant display in Birmingham.

On a successful first day for the Australian team at Alexander Stadium, para-athletics sprinters Jaydon Page (silver in the men’s T45-47 100m) and Rhiannon Clarke (bronze in the women’s T37-38 100m) also claimed podium places. 

But the stand-out performance came from Kennedy.

Never mind that her winning height of 4.60m was 20cm less than what was required to claim third spot at the world titles in Eugene.

Australians have now won the women’s pole vault on six of the seven occasions it has been contested at Commonwealth level – a sequence broken only when Canadian Alysha Newman saluted four years ago on the Gold Coast.

“I am so proud of myself,” said the 25-year-old Kennedy.

“I was mentally quite flat after the world championships.

“I’d done such a great job and then to come here and repeat such a big effort was hard.”

Newman was forced to pull out early in Tuesday’s final due to a leg injury.

With Olympics bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw from England also a last-minute withdrawal due to injuries suffered when she snapped her pole mid-vault in Eugene, there was no-one left in the field with a personal best anywhere near Kennedy’s 4.82m.

As such, it shaped as something of a one-horse race.

And so it proved.

So confident was Kennedy that she passed at 4.50m when any clearance at that height would have been good enough for gold on her own.

It proved academic for the West Australian, who soared over 4.60m at the second attempt.

To the delight of the crowd, Kennedy defied tricky windy conditions to then have three unsuccessful cracks at what would have been a new Commonwealth record of 4.76m.

“Pole vault is a really interesting sport like that,” she said of the decision to skip 4.50m.

“You can play some mind games and some tactics, passing and what not.

“(The journey) is incredible.

“Just from Tokyo, this time last year I was at the bottom of my whole career, so to come third in the whole world and first in the Commonwealth is incredible.”

Molly Caudery from England claimed the silver on countback ahead of New Zealand’s Imogen Ayris after both cleared 4.45m.

Australian Taryn Gollshewsky finished fourth in the women’s discus, just 14cm short of the bronze medal, with a best throw of 56.85m.

The gold went to Nigerian Chioma Onyekwere (61.70m).

Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo added the Commonwealth 10,000m gold to his Olympics and world bronzes, outsprinting Kenyan Daniel Ebenyo to win in 27:09.19.

The first Australian to win a medal in the 2022 Games at Alexander Stadium was Clarke, who was third in the women’s T37/38 final won by Olivia Breen from Wales in 12.83.

Clarke clocked 13.13.

Page flew home for second in the men’s T45-47 100m in 11.10 but was never going to catch gold medallist Emmanuel Oynbo-Coker from England (10.94).

Robyn Lambird was fourth bethind a trio of English wheelchair racers in the women’s T33/34 100m final.

Games rooke Taneille Crase was in the bronze-medal position after four of seven events in the heptathlon.

Crase had 3604 points, with England’s 2019 world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson leading the way on 3765.


1998 – Emma George (Aus)

2002 – Tatiana Grigorieva (Aus)

2006 – Kym Howe (Aus)

2010 – Alana Boyd (Aus)

2014 – Alana Boyd (Aus)

2018 – Alysha Newman (Can)

2022 – Nina Kennedy (Aus)