Kurtis Marschall makes athletics history in eight-year first at world championships

The Aussie pole vaulter has joined Nina Kennedy in winning a medal at the world athletics championships.

Kurtis Marschall at the world athletics championships.
Kurtis Marschall won bronze in the pole vault - the first medal won by an Australian male at the world championships since 2015. Image: Getty

Kurtis Marschall has become the first Aussie man since 2015 to win a medal at the athletics world championships after claiming bronze in the pole vault on Saturday night in Budapest. Marschall joined Nina Kennedy (gold and bronze), Steve Hooker (gold), Dmitri Markov (gold and silver) and Tatiana Grigorieva (bronze) as the only Australians in history to win a medal in pole vault at a world championships.

Marschall surged into contention with a first-time clearance at 5.95m on Saturday night, equalling his personal best. He came up just short with three attempts at 6m, but it was still good enough for a share of the bronze medal with American Christopher Nilsen.

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Swedish world record holder Armand Duplantis won the gold medal with a best clearance of 6.10m, while Ernest John Obiena from the Philippines took the silver with 6m. With the gold already secured, Duplantis had three attempts at 6.23m to break his own world record, but came up short.

Ernest John Obiena, Christopher Nilsen, Armand Duplantis and Kurtis Marschall.
(L-R) Ernest John Obiena, Christopher Nilsen, Armand Duplantis and Kurtis Marschall after the pole vault final at the world athletics championships. (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images)

In claiming the bronze, the 26-year-old Marschall became the first Australian man to claim a spot on the podium at a world championships since Fabrice Lapierre won silver in the long jump in Beijing in 2015. The previous nine medals won by Australians at the world titles were all claimed by female athletes.

Marschall's coach Paul Burgess also works with Kennedy, who won gold in the women's event last week. Kennedy also shared her medal after finishing equal with American Katie Moon.

Marschall claimed Australia's fourth medal of the world championships in Budapest, joining Kennedy, Mackenzie Little (bronze in javelin) and Jemima Montag (silver in the 20km race walk). The four medals equals Australia's best-ever haul at a world titles after they achieved the same feat in Seville in 1999 and Berlin in 2009.

"I missed the first attempt at 5.90 and then it was a ballsy move to go to 5.95 after a miss," said Marschall. "But I just knew I could clear it because I cleared it earlier this season, and 5.95 is normally the bar that gets you in the medals. I managed to clear it first attempt to my complete elation."

Eleanor Patterson and Nicola Olyslagers make Aussie history

That tally was eclipsed on Sunday (early Monday AEST), with defending champ Eleanor Patterson and Olympic silver medallist Nicola Olyslagers winning silver and bronze in the women's high jump. Patterson suffered a clean snap of the fifth metatarsal in her left foot during a warm-up drill in Slovakia in February and underwent surgery on February 24 to have a plate inserted.

This was followed by several months of rehabilitation, but the defending champ is finally back and ready to go again in Budapest. Patterson and Olyslagers were both untroubled in advancing through the qualifying round on Friday, before finishing second and third in Sunday night's final.

Olyslagers has been the form jumper in the world this year, winning nine of 10 competitions and leading the rankings after equalling the national record of 2.02m she currently shares with Patterson. Patterson won gold at last year's world championships in Eugene while managing a stress hot spot in her right foot.

"The body is in one piece, the (left) foot especially so, and it feels all good now," she told reporters in Budapest. "It's like a brand new foot in a way.

"Especially being my take-off foot it wasn't guaranteed whether I would be able to jump; whether the bone and the plate on top would be able to handle jumping. And what I am demanding of it because high jump is so unnatural in so many ways; you are putting a lot of force in your foot and at such an angle."

with AAP

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