Kiwi pole vaulting sensation Eliza McCartney will be highlighting the 2017 International Athletics Series in New Zealand this summer with competitions in Central Auckland and on the North Shore.

Vertical Pursuit, an event at Britomart in the heart of Auckland’s CBD supported by Les Mills on Wednesday 22 February and will be the first time Auckland fans have the chance to see McCartney since a sultry evening in the Rio Olympic Stadium where she stunned the world with both her performance and her reaction to claiming bronze in her first major international competition.

Attention will then turn to the Auckland Track Challenge on the 20 year old’s home track at AUT Millennium Stadium on Sunday 26 February in the Harcourts Cooper and Co Women’s pole vault.

“We love everything about the beautiful North Shore and are excited to be supporting the Harcourts Cooper & Co women’s pole vault at the Auckland Track Challenge. Seeing the North Shore’s very own Eliza McCartney up close in action will be amazing. It’s going to be a great family event and we’d love to see lots of people there,” said Martin Cooper from Harcourts Cooper & Co.

Up against McCartney at both events will be two North American vaulters who tied for the silver medal at the 2016 US Collegiate championships, second only to the US Olympic trials in importance.

Canadian Alysha Newman went on to compete in Rio where she just missed qualifying for the final while the New Zealander finished third. Newman has recently broken the Canadian record with a vault of 4.65m, just 0.15m behind McCartney’s best.

Morgann Leleux from the US finished fourth at the very competitive 2016 US Olympic trials and just missed making the US team for Rio. Her best is a very impressive 4.60m.

Exciting North Shore teenager Olivia McTaggart who broke McCartney’s under 17 national record with a jump of 4.30m and went on to improve to 4.40m in early January will be in action at both events against her older, more experienced rivals.

Also competing at Vertical Pursuit will be New Zealand’s top male pole vaulter Nick Southgate who has a best of 5.47, just 0.04 short of the national record as well as several of New Zealand’s other leading pole vaulters. Southgate is currently in Melbourne representing the NZL team in the Nitro Athletics Series.

The Vertical Pursuit event supported by Les Mills, has free entry and will get under way at 6.00pm on Wednesday 22 February inside the Atrium in Britomart, providing a great opportunity for the public to get up close to the spectacular pole vault action from these top athletes.

Auckland Track Challenge will see a repeat contest for the women vaulters with the Harcourts Cooper & Co Women’s pole vault, with the presentation of the meeting designed to get as many people up close to the action as possible.

Also in action at the Auckland Track Challenge will be the top two shot putters in the world, Rio Olympic champion Ryan Crouser (USA) and Diamond League champion Tom Walsh (NZL). They will head a star-studded field which also includes a two-times World Indoor Champion and New Zealand’s Jacko Gill, ninth place getter in Rio.

Liam Malone, double Paralympic gold medallist and record holder will also be in action at the Track Challenge taking on the best able bodied athletics in New Zealand. Supporting events will have a number of other top new Zealand athletes.

Athletics New Zealand Events Manager Gareth Archer is advising spectators to get their tickets for the Auckland Track Challenge early to avoid missing out.

“The event will be an awesome experience for fans and there has already been a lot of interest and strong early sales,“ said Archer.

Photo credit: Alisha Lovrich / Temposhot Photography

Athletics NZ Media Release