Above: Eliza McCartney winning bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Photo by David Ramos / Getty Images Sport.
Kiwi polevaulter Eliza McCartney opened her 2017 Diamond League campaign with an excellent third place in Rome, clearing 4.75m, just 0.07m behind her New Zealand and Oceania record.
The 20 year old from Auckland opened her account at 4.40, clearing on her second attempt, before going clear at 4.55 with her first jump and then needing two attempts at 4.65.
At 4.75m McCartney needed all three attempts clearing her third with lots of clear air but knocking the bar on the way down and watching the bar bounce before it stayed up.
With the bar at 4.85, the Kiwi bronze medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics had three good attempts at what would have been a new personal best and New Zealand record.
It was a very good first-up competition for McCartney, who will now contest two more Diamond League meetings in Oslo and Stockholm next week.
The competition was won by 2016 Rio Olympics champion Ekaterina Stefanidi from Greece, clearing 4.85m, while 2015 World Champion Yarisley Silva placed second at 4.75m, ahead of McCartney on the countback.
McCartney, who did not contest the first Diamond League pole vault in Doha a month earlier, lies fifth on the Diamond pole vault table after two rounds with six points behind Stefanidi (16), Silva (13) and American Sandi Morris (10).