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Coach Burgess thrilled by Kennedy’s bronze

Coach Paul Burgess believes world championships bronze could be just the beginning for pole vault star Nina Kennedy.

The West Australian was just 18 when she made her major debut as the baby of the team at the 2015 world titles in Beijing.

She has battled adversity in the intervening years, including a spate of injuries and suggestions she struggled to perform at her best away from the comforts of home.

That theory was well and truly debunked on Sunday evening at Hayward Field as Kennedy recovered from a horror start to the final to win Australia’s first medal of the championships with a clutch first-attempt clearance at 4.80m.

Reigning Olympic champion Katie Nageotte beat fellow American Sandi Morris on countback for the gold after both went over at 4.85m.

“Nina has just had a world-class performance on the big stage and I knew she could do it,” Burgess told AAP.

“She’s had a bit of unfair criticism from people saying she can’t compete very well overseas.

“I think it’s that she hasn’t had the opportunity very much with injuries and things like that.

“So I’m really pleased she got the opportunity to execute like I knew she could.

“Hopefully this is just the beginning for her because she’s only 25.”

Training partner Kurtis Marschall pledged to take inspiration from the way Kennedy stayed strong after missing her first two jumps when he competes in the men’s vault later in the championships.

“Nina has taken advantage of the field, she’s jumped her absolute best, competed like an absolute beast, put it all on the line and come away with the goods,” he said.

“I don’t know how she turned her mentality around for the third attempt at the opening height.

“I know what it’s like, third attempt at the opening height at a major.

“I was there in Tokyo (at the Olympics last year) and I missed it.

“This just proves the calibre Nina is at.”

After those two early misses at 4.45m, Kennedy was unable to get across the track to speak to Burgess because the men’s 400m hurdles was about to start.

Her coach insists it wouldn’t have made much difference anyway.

“She just needed to execute and there wasn’t too much to say,” he said.

“You’ve done all the work, you just need to get the run-up right, put the stand right and little decisions like that.

“Now she has to go higher to 4.85 and 4.90.

“She’s got more to give, there’s more talent there.

“I don’t think she’s reached her potential yet.”

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