2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games: Eliza McCartney

  • 21/03/2018
Eliza McCartney
Eliza McCartney at world pole vault championships. Photo credit: Photosport

Age: 21
Height: 1.79m
Event: Pole vault
Club: North Harbour Bays
Born: December 11, 1996
Personal bests: 4.82m (outdoors), 4.70m (indoors)
Coach: Jeremy McColl
Social links: @elizamccartneynzpolvevault (Facebook), @eliza_mac_ (Instagram)   

McCartney is one of New Zealand’s top medal prospects on the Gold Coast, after winning a surprise pole vault bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Hailing from Auckland’s North Shore, she attended Takapuna Grammar with pop star Lorde - the pair played netball together.

After dabbling in a variety of sports, she gravitated towards track and field, following in the footsteps of father William, and began vaulting in 2011.

Under the coaching of Jeremy McColl, she collected several national age-group titles and records, placing fourth at the 2013 world youth championships, third at the 2014 world junior championships and second at the 2015 World University Games.

In 2015, she set a world junior record of 4.64m and her performance at Rio, at the age of 19 years and 252 days, made her the youngest Olympic medallist in the women’s pole vault.

McCartney was named Emerging Talent at the 2015 Halberg Awards and her Olympic success was voted New Zealand’s Favourite Sporting Moment the following year.

While 2017 was a disappointing campaign for McCartney, hampered by a lingering Achilles tendon injury, she seems to have bounced back to her best this year, finishing fourth at the world indoor championships and clearing 4.90m in a Sky Tower demonstration event in March.

While the latter doesn’t count for ranking or record purposes, a 4.70m clearance at Hastings last December sees her ranked second in the world so far this year, one centimetre behind Australian Nina Kennedy, with most of her rivals yet to open their accounts for 2018.