Tokyo Olympics 2020: NZ pole vaulter Eliza McCartney welcomes Games delay

Kiwi pole vault ace Eliza McCartney admits she not only endorses the Tokyo Olympics' postponement, it's provided her with a welcome dose of relief.

On Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee confirmed it would delay the Games - for the first time in their history - until mid-2021, ending weeks of uncertainty for athletes who'd hung on tenterhooks.

"My initial reaction was one of relief, really," McCartney told Newshub. "We needed to know what the situation was, so we could just get on with it.

"Now we can plan ahead, we can hunker down in New Zealand and train from home, without having fears that we're missing out and there could be an Olympics Games this year that we're not prepared for.

"It was the only decision that was possible, really. It was obvious it could not happen as planned in July this year, so I'm glad that they've made the decision now, and we can move on and train."

McCartney has battled a slew of injuries over the past two years, including achilles and hamstring issues that were ultimately diagnosed as a product of an autoimmune condition affecting her tendons.

After sitting out the last domestic season, McCartney had targeted a return to full competition in May, with an eye to Olympic qualifying in June.

The 23-year-old would have been racing against time to get her body into peak condition for a scheduled July 24 start date.

McCartney says the delay will provide an opportunity to return to full fitness at a steadier pace. 

"It was always going to be time-pressured and a big challenge for me to be ready to compete by July.

"Although I was making really, really great progress, I think 12 months could only help me hopefully in this situation.

"It will give me a chance to really not rush through this rehab. We haven't been fully rushing, but we could have taken it slower if we had another 12 months.

"I'm going to do everything I can to rehab my body carefully and soundly, and strengthen it in a way that it's going to be more sustainable. Then, by the time we start competing again for next year, I'll be ready and won't have to force it or be held back from injury.

"It could be a really good opportunity, and I've just got to see it that way and take it as a positive."

The 2016 Olympics bronze-medallist had intended vaulting again this week, until the Government's announcement of a four-week mandatory self-isolation period to stifle the spread of coronavirus.

"We obviously have to postpone that now, until we've gotten through this lockdown.

"In the meantime, I can keep up based training at home and make sure that I'm ready, so when the time comes, I can start vaulting again and I'll be able to start on my shorter run-ups, and build up carefully and slowly."