Linden Hall makes Aussie athletics history as Nina Kennedy crashes back to earth

It was a mixed day for Australian athletes at the Diamond League final in Eugene.

Linden Hall and Nina Kennedy.
Linden Hall broke the Australian record in the 1500m, while Nina Kennedy was fifth in the pole vault. Image: World Athletics/Getty

World pole vault champion Nina Kennedy had a rare off day at the Diamond League final in Oregon on Saturday, but compatriot Linden Hall broke her own Australian record in the 1500m. Hall finished fifth in a time of three minutes 56.92 seconds, but bettered her previous national record of 3:57.27 set earlier this year.

The Aussie took full advantage of the lightning pace set by Kenyan superstar Faith Kipyegon, who won in 3:50.72 in a red-hot race where the top nine finishers broke the four-minute mark. Hall ran a smart, tatcical race and moved seamlessly through the field in the latter stages of the race, while fellow Australian Jessica Hull was eighth in 3:57.57.

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"It's exciting to end the season on a high," said Hall who was eliminated in the semi-finals at the recent world championships in Budapest. "It's been a year that has thrown a few curveballs but I'm really proud to have run my three fastest-ever times this season.

"I'll head into the new season and an Olympic year with so much confidence from this run. Any chance to add to an Australian record is something to be proud of, and this year I've really appreciated these moments because the other girls at home are making these records harder to get and even harder to hold."

It wasn't such a great day for Kennedy, who finished fifth in the women's pole vault with just one successful clearance at 4.56m. Kennedy famously shared the gold medal with American Katie Moon at the recent world championships, after both athletes couldn't better 4.90m.

Kennedy then got the better of Moon at the Diamond League meeting in Zurich, breaking her own Australian and Oceania record with a best effort of 4.91m. But on Saturday it was Moon who prevailed, winning with a best effort of 4.86m.

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Mackenzie Little, who won bronze in the javelin at the world championships, repeated the effort by finishing third on Saturday. The Aussie produced her best throw of 61.24m in the opening round.

World champion Haruka Kitaguchi from Japan took the win with 63.78m. New Zealand's Tori Peeters (61.30m) just pipped Little for second place.

Stewart McSweyn finished 10th in the men's mile as Norway's all-time great Jakob Ingebrigtsen claimed a dominant win in 3:43.73. American Christian Coleman stunned world champion Noah Lyles to win the men's 100m, while Jamaica's Shericka Jackson took the women's 100m title ahead of world champion Sha'Carri Richardson.

Linden Hall, pictured here at the world athletics championships.
Linden Hall broke the Australian 1500m record at the Diamond League final. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Coleman missed out on making the podium in Budapest, but won in a blistering time of 9.83 seconds on Saturday. Fellow American Lyles finished second in 9.85.

Jackson finished second at the worlds behind Richardson, but took the lead in the last half of the women's 100m in Eugene before breaking the tape in 10.70. Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou finished five hundredths of a second behind Jackson, and fellow Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah (the back-to-back Olympic champion) was third in 10.79.

Five more Australians are in action on the second and final day of the Diamond League final on Sunday (Monday morning AEST).

with agencies

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