Pole vault colossus Sergey Bubka has left New Zealand with a special message of encouragement for our own darling of the event - Eliza McCartney.

Bubka, now 53, was part of an IOC delegation visiting the World Masters Games 2017 this week, helping forge the close relationship that exists between the two major events.

In his prime the Ukrainian was peerless, breaking the world record 35 times and culminating in a 6.15m best that stood for more than 20 years, until it was bettered by Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie in 2014.

Bubka was cursed at the Olympics, winning only one gold at Seoul in 1988, but took out six consecutive world titles from 1983-97.


Before he left New Zealand, Bubka admitted McCartney had caught his eye with her bronze medal performance at last year's Rio Olympics and tipped her to eventually break the 5m barrier for women.

"Her result in Rio showed great achievement, getting a bronze, and great character," he said.

"Also, right now here in New Zealand, I heard so many great things about her human nature ... how kids follow her and everyone is dreaming now to become a pole vaulter. She has the potential to jump over 5m."

Only two women have ever cleared 5m - Russian Yelena Isinbayeva holds the world record at 5.06m, while American Sandi Morris has managed 5m exactly.

McCartney, 20, has a best of 4.82m and is equal 11th on all-time lists.

She will leave her NZ base in June to contest the IAAF Diamond League circuit.