Kiwi pole vaulter Eliza McCartney to miss nationals in Hamilton




Pole vaulter Eliza McCartney has opted to miss this weekend's national track and field championships in Hamilton as she manages her schedule leading into next month's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Eliza McCartney competes in the Women's Pole Vault at the IAAF World Championships

Eliza McCartney competes in the Women's Pole Vault at the IAAF World Championships

Source: Photosport

The Rio Olympics bronze medallist is completing an impressive return to full fitness after an Achilles injury restricted her for much of last year.

McCartney finished fourth at the recent world indoor championships, her first major international meet of the southern season.

A first-up 4.75m clearance came close to her all-time best of 4.82m, set in February last year, but the 21-year-old Aucklander is taking care to pace her return to competition carefully.

She'll be contesting the Vertical Pursuit event on March 18 in Auckland, an urban pole vault event on a specially constructed runway, and the Auckland Track Challenge a week later at the Trusts Arena.

In her absence, up-and-coming vaulter Olivia McTaggart, 18, who has a PB of 4.40m and is also a Gold Coast Commonwealth Games starter, will start favourite for her first national senior title on Sunday.

Another Commonwealth Games hopeful who will come under scrutiny at the nationals in Hamilton is storied shot putter Dame Valerie Adams.

A two-times Olympic gold medallist, 33-year-old Adams is making her return to competition following the birth of daughter Kimoana in October last year.

A four-times world champion, Adams will be hunting her fourth straight Commonwealth Games gold medal if she performs well enough in Hamilton on Friday.

Fellow shot-putter Tom Walsh will be hunting his ninth consecutive New Zealand title on Sunday, coming off an outstanding defence of his world indoor title in Birmingham last week.

The Olympic bronze medallist broke his own New Zealand record with his winning 22.31m, and looks in prime form to win his first Commonwealth Games gold next month after taking silver behind Jamaican O'Dayne Richards in Glasgow four years ago.

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