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McCartney vaults to victory at Britomart

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/02/2017 Angelo Risso

Kiwi Olympic star Eliza McCartney has blitzed her competition in a public pole vault meet in Auckland's CBD.

A file photo of Eliza McCartney © Getty A file photo of Eliza McCartney

The 20-year-old bronze-medallist successfully vaulted 4.70m at the Vertical Pursuit at Britomart, just 10cm off the personal best she equalled in Rio.

In what was just her second meet on Kiwi soil since winning bronze at the Rio Olympics, McCartney took a shorter run-up than usual but never looked likely to falter.

She breezed through her first-up vault of 4.30m before surpassing 4.50m, 4.60m and 4.70m at the first time of asking.

However, she couldn't repeat her Rio heroics by securing 4.80m, failing to launch on the first attempt before thumping the bar in her final two.

The Aucklander nevertheless won the competition comfortably, coming in ahead of Morgann Leleux and Alysha Newman, who cleared 4.40m.

Kiwi young gun Olivia McTaggart, meanwhile, struggled to reproduce the form that helped her claim McCartney's under-17 record and could clear only 4.10m.

McCartney said her new run-up style, taking 12 strides instead of 14, was about technically refining her vault and hastening her attempts.

She would stick to it for the Kiwi athletic season, including Sunday's Auckland Track Challenge, before redeploying the 14-stride run-up in Europe later this year.

"I don't want to jinx it but it's really exciting to be jumping this high," McCartney told reporters.

"To come into my second competition of the season and jump near my actual personal best, it's more than I can ask for."

Having undergone a meteoric rise from teen athlete to Kiwi hero at Rio, McCartney said she had grown accustomed over the past six months to life in the spotlight.

With a solid start to the campaign under her belt, the Aucklander was now looking ahead to the European season for personal bests and beyond.

"I've got to go into a new season with new goals and new ideas," she said.

"I'm just keeping an open mind and attacking each competition."

Meanwhile, in the men's competition, Kiwi ace Nick Southgate coasted to victory after vaulting 5.20m on the third time of asking.

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