Pole vaulter Eliza McCartney, who broke the world junior record in December, has won the SKY NEXT Emerging Talent award and a $10,000 sporting scholarship at the 2015 Halberg Awards in Auckland.
The award, designed to identify and assist a young athlete in their quest to become an Olympic, Paralympic and/or World Champion, and hopefully one day win the Halberg Award, was hotly contested by track cyclist Campbell Stewart, basketball player Tai Wynyard and trampolinist Dylan Schmidt
Eliza is just the third female New Zealand athlete to medal at the IAAF World Junior Championships. She went on to win the Silver Medal at the World University Games.
Jumping 4.64m in December to claim the world junior pole vault record in her final competition as a junior, then jumping 4.65 in Januaryto add to her New Zealand senior record.
Both jumps were well above the 4.50m standard required for nomination for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Eliza currently holds every national pole vault record from the Women’s Under 17 record of 4.11m, Under 18 record of 4.45m, Under 19 record of 4.50m, Under 20 record of 4.64m and the Senior Women’s record of 4.65m.
Eliza is quickly becoming one of the most exciting pole vaulter’s in the world. At the age of 19, she still has much room for technical improvement to match up to her physical dominance in the event and could go on the be one of the most dominating pole vaulters on the World scene.
Eliza has shown the ability to compete at her best at major events, with personal bests and NZ records achieved when it matters.
Eliza has her sights set on placing in the top 8 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (where she will just be 19 years old) and in future Olympic Games being the first New Zealand pole vaulter to medal at an Olympics.
McCartney will be in action at two meets in Auckland next week against two times Commonwealth pole vault champion Alana Boyd from Australia who recently extended her Australian record to 4.77m.
The two top vaulters will be competing at the Vertical Pursuit pole vault meet at AUT Millennium Stadium, Rosedale on Tuesday 23 February starting at 6.30pm and again on Thursday 25 February at Douglas Track & Field, The Trusts Stadium, Waitakere as part of the Auckland Track Challenge extravaganza.