Nina Kennedy continues to amaze her coach


Nina Kennedy continues to amaze her coach Paul Burgess, who sees no reason why the newly-minted pole vault world champ can't become just the fourth member of the ultra-exclusive five-metre club.

The decision by Kennedy and her great friend and US rival Katie Moon to spurn a jump-off and instead share the gold medal at the world championships was the talk of Budapest on Wednesday night.

But just as important was the elite standard of the final, with Kennedy twice smashing her national record at 4.85m and 4.90m - and reigning Olympic and world champ Moon matching her every step of the way.

The 26-year-old Australian is now ninth on the all-time rankings - a list headed by peerless Russian Yelena Isinbayeva with 5.06m.

"Nina wants five metres and she is capable of five metres," said Burgess.

"That's one of her main goals, among a bunch of other things.

"It's really hard to do but I now think that nothing is beyond her. She's a champion."

Gold at next year's Olympics is also high on the agenda.

"We are aiming to win Paris," Burgess said.

"You just don't know how often these moments come but we're not going to aim for less than this.

"We are more than happy to aim big, we don't think it's delusional. These are our goals.

"To aim for anything less would be cheating ourselves."

Burgess and Moon's coach Brad Walker were vaulting rivals in years gone by.

And no-one was more relieved than those two when their exhausted charges got together after missing three times at 4.95m and decided they wanted to share the gold - much as Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi famously did in the Tokyo Olympics men's high jump final.

"I was hoping that they would do that - I just wanted it to finish," said Burgess.

"They did that themselves.

"Brad Walker and I ... we were hoping that they would do that but we didn't know if the other one wanted to back down.

"I have never even talked about what we do in a jump-off."

Burgess reckons he only contested one jump-off in his long career, and that was when he was only 14.

"They got presented with the possibility, we saw them huddled together with the officials," he said.

"They both seemed to pretty quickly jump to that option and I was pretty relieved and happy.

"When jump-offs happen you always have to get the officials involved because everyone has forgotten the rules, or they vaguely know them.

"That was such an amazing comp where they kept staying equal."