Athletics: Eliza McCartney breaks Oceania pole vault record

By Robert van Royen

Eliza McCartney celebrates after breaking the Oceania record. Photo / Getty
Eliza McCartney celebrates after breaking the Oceania record. Photo / Getty

Pole vaulter Eliza McCartney eclipsed her own national record and set a new Oceania mark in Dunedin today.

The 19-year-old Aucklander added 9cm to her national record, when she cleared 4.80m on her third and final attempt at the national track and field championships.

"I couldn't ask for a better build-up to the world indoors and Rio with these competitions," McCartney said. "These heights are what I want. It makes medalling [at the Olympics] look realistic."

The attempt was also 3cm clear of the previous Oceania record, set by Australian Alana Boyd in January, and is the best vault of any woman in outdoor competition this year, the fifth-best back to the start of 2015 and makes her the 11th best vaulter in history.

The gold medal-winning jump at the 2012 Olympics was 4.75m but the world record of 5.06m was set by Russian Elena Isinbaeva in August 2009.

"That last attempt was one of the better jumps I have done," McCartney said. "The attempts I did at the heights before, they were looking promising. But the warm-up wasn't the best... that happens sometimes. That's why I started on an early height, just to get a few jumps in."

McCartney started at 4.35m, before clearing 4.50m and 4.70m with first attempts. After missing the record with her second attempt, she brought the crowd to their feet with her third vault.

The bar was raised to 4.85m, which McCartney almost pulled off with her third attempt.

"It took a couple of attempts to get my head back into it, I had to refocus," she said. "My goal was to go out and jump 4.80m."

The world indoor championships begin with the pole vault events in Portland, Oregon on March 17.

Cantabrian 18-year-old Louise Richards was second with a personal best 3.15m.

- additional reporting Andrew Alderson

- NZ Herald

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