Above: Eliza McCartney winning the national pole vault title in Hamilton. Photo by Alisha Lovrich / TempoShot.
Pole vaulter Eliza McCartney won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics in a result that surprised many, but this year in Europe she will be competing as one of the stars.
The 20 year-old Oceania and New Zealand record holder kicks off her 2017 European campaign in Rome on Friday morning (NZ time) at her first Diamond League meeting of the season and just her third ever Diamond League start.
Also vaulting in Rome will be Rio gold and silver medallists Ekaterini Stefanidi (Greece) and Sandi Morris (USA), so the young Devonport vaulter will need to hit form quickly to be in contention for Diamond League points.
McCartney made the decision to limit her Diamond League competitions this year and did not contest the first pole vault Diamond League event in Doha, early in May. Stefanidi took maximum points in Doha, clearing 4.80m while Morris was second with 4.75m.
The young Kiwi vaulter has a best of 4.82 set at the Auckland track Challenge in February this year, which extended her NZ record of 4.80m set in Rio last year.
Following the Rome meeting, McCartney plans to contest the Oslo (15 June), Stockholm (18 June) and London (9 July) rounds of the Diamond League ahead of the World Championships in London, starting in early August.
The Rome women’s pole vault gets under way at 3:20am Friday 9 June (NZ time).
Rome Diamond League Website