Busselton pole vaulter Nina Kennedy has struck gold at the Commonwealth Games in what has been a stellar opening to the event for the South West’s athletes. Fresh off becoming the first West Australian to win a medal at the World Athletics Championships in almost a decade when she claimed bronze in Oregan two weeks ago, Kennedy became the seventh Australian woman to take out the top honour at the Commonwealth Games in the early hours of Wednesday morning. “I am so proud of myself,” said the 25-year-old Kennedy. “I was mentally quite flat after the world championships. “I’d done such a great job and then to come here and repeat such a big effort was hard. “Just from Tokyo, this time last year I was at the bottom of my whole career, so to come third in the whole world and first in the Commonwealth is incredible.” Remarkably, her winning height of 4.60m was 20cm less than what was required to claim the third spot at the world titles. The 25-year-old’s win helped Australia return to supremacy at the event where they had won five out of six gold medals since women’s pole vault began in 1998 — a streak that ended when Kennedy finished third at the 2018 Games. Meanwhile, Bunbury teenager Alex Saffy fell agonisingly short of claiming a gold medal of his own in the pool. The Bunbury Bullet earned a silver medal in the S10 100m butterfly early on Wednesday morning, finishing less than a second behind fellow Australian Col Pearse. Saffy, who is the youngest member of Australia’s para-swimming team at just 16, was one of the slowest off the blocks but turned second before fighting his hardest to catch Pearce. The 16-year-old has dyskinetic cerebral palsy and used to swim able-bodied, but as the symptoms progressed he was regularly disqualified and encouraged to take up para-swimming. Saffy made his international swimming debut only last month, claiming bronze in the S10 category in the 100m butterfly final at the Para World Swimming Championships in Portugal. Elsewhere, Margaret River’s Aran Zalewski and Dardanup’s Jake Harvie have had the ideal start to their quest to bring home an unprecedented seventh straight gold medal for Australia in hockey at the Games. At the time of print, the Kookaburras were two points clear on top of their pool with an incredible goal difference of 17 — 16 goals more than second-placed South Africa. The Australian men began their campaign with a dominant 12-0 victory over Scotland on Sunday evening. The Kookaburras scored within the first 10 minutes of the match, before piling the pressure on the 20th-ranked nation to record their biggest ever victory at the tournament. The Australians faced 2018 silver medallists New Zealand in their second match of the competition in the early hours of Tuesday morning. But the match was a far cry from the hard-fought gold medal match in 2018 which ended in a 2-0 victory for the Kookaburras. Australia broke the deadlock early against the world number nine, but the Black Sticks levelled the scoring early into the second quarter before a Kookaburras onslaught began. The Australians scored three goals in seven minutes to lead 4-1 at half time, before netting another three later in the match to win 7-2 — with Zalewski scoring two. The Kookaburras were set to face South Africa on Thursday morning, before playing Pakistan in their last pool match on Friday morning. Harvie and Zelewski are vowing for their respective second and third-straight Commonwealth Games gold and need to win only one of their last two group games to qualify for the semifinals.