Olympic bronze medallist Eliza McCartney pulled out of her much-anticipated comeback despite getting through the warm-ups.
The star pole vaulter, who hasn't competed since August 2019 because of a persistent Achilles problem, was hoping to re-launch at the Potts Classic in Hastings as she continues her quest to qualify for this year's Olympics.
However, McCartney said she felt she wasn't quite ready to return to competition just yet.
"I was hoping to compete yesterday after our camp in Hawke's Bay but I'm just not quite ready yet," she told NZME.
"The warm-up was going okay but we ended up deciding that I wasn't completely ready, and that it wasn't worth pushing it for yesterday's competition."
Like all athletes, McCartney will be wondering if there is even an Olympics to aim for, with so many mixed messages surrounding the Tokyo Games this year.
But she now appears to be in a race against time to qualify - which wouldn't normally be a problem - and then get back to her best.
She has battled Achilles and hamstring issues and discovered two years ago she had a genetic autoimmune disorder leading to tendon inflammation.
There are a handful of other meetings where McCartney can get back into competitive stride, including the nationals at Hastings in early March.
"Hopefully I'm not far away and will be competing again very soon," McCartney added.
"I've made some big gains lately in training so I'm happy with where I'm at."
Outstanding prospect Olivia McTaggart won the pole vault by equalling her personal best, as McCartney had to content herself with signing autographs at the Mitre 10 Sports Park.
Meanwhile teenage sprint sensation Eddie Osei-Nketia was beaten in the men's 100 metres by 2020 national bronze medallist Tiaan Whelpton from Christchurch.
Osei-Nketia, who was injured in a bicycle accident late last year, was second with his training partner Joseph Millar third.
Shot put superstars Tom Walsh and Dame Valerie Adams had easy victories.
Double Olympic champion Adams, seeking a fourth Games appearance, told Sky Sport it was a "day to shake off the cobwebs a little bit".
She was looking forward to "taking more risks and seeing where we get to".