Vaulter Marschall avoids serious injury

John Salvado |

Kurtis Marschall sprained his ankle while competing at the Australian championships.
Kurtis Marschall sprained his ankle while competing at the Australian championships.

Australian pole vault star Kurtis Marschall’s Olympic campaign remains on track after he avoided serious injury in a nasty fall at the Australian track and field championships in Adelaide.

With a first-time clearance at 5.62 metres on Sunday, the 26-year-old already had the national title in his keeping when the bar was raised to 5.72m.

He fell awkwardly on his pole while attempting to clear the new height and had to be assisted from the track by medical staff.

There were initial fears the 2023 world championships bronze medallist may have suffered a broken bone or achilles tendon injury that would have put his Olympic campaign in jeopardy.

But X-rays on Monday confirmed it was only a sprained ankle.

“It’s better than we first thought,” Athletics Australia high-performance boss Andrew Faichney told AAP.

“Kurtis has sprained an ankle after landing on the pole so he will only be out for a few weeks.

“He’s going for further testing but the X-rays showed no bone damage.

“It’s a whole lot better than it might have been.”

The two-time Commonwealth Games champion had been scheduled to compete in the opening Diamond League meets of the season in China on the last two Saturdays in April.

That is now off the agenda, with Marschall to remain in Australia for rehabilitation on his ankle.

But he should be fully fit in plenty of time to head to Europe in June for further Diamond League meets ahead of the Paris Olympics.

It was the second successive year Marschall suffered a mishap and avoided serious injury at the national championships.

Last year in Brisbane, he snapped his pole while attempting to clear 5.90m.

Kurtis Marschall snapped his pole at the 2023 national titles in Brisbane. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Marschall and his training partner Nina Kennedy – the reigning women’s pole vault world champion – are among Australia’s best track and field medal hopes at the Paris Olympics.

After spending four months on the sidelines, Kennedy made a successful return at the Australian championships, winning gold with a clearance of 4.65m.

But as neither Marschall nor Kennedy had competed in any other major meets in the Australian season, they could not be included in the first tranche of athletes named on Sunday evening for the Paris Games.

They will be added to the squad after the cut-off on June 30.