Rising pole vault star Kurtis Marschall was devastated at missing last year's World Championships, but believes his long stint on the sidelines could end up being a blessing in disguise.
Marschall had the world at his feet after winning gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games before posting a personal best 5.87m in February last year.
But a nagging shoulder injury that changed his technique eventually led to a back stress fracture, forcing him to spend the bulk of 2019 on the sidelines.
He not only missed out on lucrative Diamond League events but also the World Championships, where he would have been a chance to snare a medal.
Marschall will make his long-awaited return on Saturday night when he lines up at the Jandakot Airport Track Classic in Perth.
The 22-year-old, who will be competing off a full run-up for the first time since February last year, is hoping to post an Olympic qualifying height of 5.80m.
With the Olympics less than six months away, Marschall knows he made the right decision to skip the World Championships and focus on a lengthy recovery.
"It was devastating and gut wrenching for me to miss (the World Championships), because I was just starting to find my straps," Marschall said.
"But in the end I feel like it was a little bit of a blessing in disguise.
"Because if I went there in the shape that I was and kept chasing comp after comp and kept grinding myself into the ground, this season probably wouldn't have been possible, and this is the major one.
"I'm glad I am where I am and I'm glad I went through that. Happy days now."
Marschall said he was caught by surprise when a precautionary MRI scan in April showed he had a fracture in his L5 vertebrae.
"At the time I was barely noticing it," Marschall said.
"I'd be rating (the pain) a one or two out of 10 after pole vault sessions.
"That's what led us to keep pushing on and thinking it was a generically sore pole vaulters back.
"We stopped pole vaulting (after we found out), managed to recover it over a long period and now it's fine, now it's back to pretty much normal."
The men's 100m sprint will be another highlight on Saturday night with Jack Hale, Rohan Browning and Kiwi Edward Osei-Nketia among the favourites.
Hale posted a personal best of 10.14 seconds in Canberra last week.
Morgan Mitchell is the overwhelming favourite to take out the women's 800m event.