It's a race against time for Eliza McCartney's Tokyo Olympics dream.

The Kiwi pole vaulter has offered a promising update on her recent battle against injury but could be left with just two months to gain qualification for the Tokyo Games - should the event go ahead.

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McCartney was forced to step away from the international stage last year after a persistent Achilles injury revealed she was suffering from a genetic disorder that causes autoimmune inflammation.


In a lengthy post to Instagram last December, she revealed the condition likely played a part in most, if not all, of her injuries over the past three years.

International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound speaks to Radio Sports' D'Arcy Waldegrave on the impact Corona Virus could have on the 2020 Olympic games in Japan. VIDEO / AP

Having not competed since her diagnosis, McCartney has slipped down the world rankings and can no longer rely on her international status to earn selection for the upcoming Games.

Eliza McCartney jumps 4.85m at the 2018 Potts Classic. Photo / Photosport
Eliza McCartney jumps 4.85m at the 2018 Potts Classic. Photo / Photosport

Instead, she'll have to vault the automatic qualification height of 4.70m in competition.

McCartney, who holds a personal best of 4.94m, told Radio Sport's D'Arcy Waldegrave she's positive it can be achieved.

"It's been quite a battle and it's been very frustrating," she said. "[But] I will be vaulting in training, at the earliest, middle of March and that will give me some time to hopefully be ready to compete by April.

"The qualifying shuts off at the end of June so that gives me a couple of months to go to a few competitions.

"I'm going to go in with that automatic height ... It's a height that, when I'm healthy and things are going well, it shouldn't be too hard but I've got to get to that point and I'm certainly not taking anything for granted."

Whether the Tokyo Games go ahead remains in question, however, as the threat of Covid-19 grows.


A senior member of the International Olympic Committee said today that if it proves too dangerous, organisers are more likely to cancel it altogether than to postpone or move it.

McCartney said she was resisting the urge to focus on things that were out of her control.

Eliza McCartney's hoping to compete at her second Olympic Games this year. Photo / Photosport
Eliza McCartney's hoping to compete at her second Olympic Games this year. Photo / Photosport

"There really isn't anything else you can do other than prepare yourself ... if it's not going to be postponed then nothing has changed for me, I just have to do my best and be ready. If it doesn't happen for safety reasons then that's just the way it goes.

"All we can do is take it as it comes at the moment ... I still am going to do everything I can to qualify, whether the Olympics happen or not, I'm going set myself up so that if it does, I can do it. Nobody can do anything right now, we just have to wait, unfortunately."

Opening up on her health battle, McCartney revealed her new medication was going well.

"I'm on a medication that drops [the inflammation] down so that I have a normal response to injury and it's just been incredible.

"It's been 13 weeks since I started that and I'm back to full capacity running and hopefully vaulting in a few weeks."