Just how high can Kiwi pole-vaulter Eliza McCartney go?
She bettered her own national record with a 4.94-metre jump at a meeting in Jockrim, Germany.
It was less than a month ago that she made it over at 4.92 m, so she extended the record by just two centimetres, but two centimetres is significant in the sport of pole vaulting.
No one has gone higher in 2018 and she seems determined to get over at five metres. She tried for 5.01 in Germany, but backed down after missing to get over at 4.94 m on her final vault.
In the history of women’s pole vaulting, only three have made it over five metres, with the world record currently belonging to Yelena Isinbayeva at 5.06 m.
McCartney is heading to Monaco next up. Pole-vaulters must be an airline baggage handler’s nightmare, but to provideperspective, the difference between McCartney’s winning vault at Jockrim and the world record is about equivalent to the span from the middle of our palm to the end of our middle finger. Less than five inches for any who cling to the old ways.
McCartney is just 21, young by pole-vaulter standards. She set the New Zealand record and established a personal best when she got over 4.85 m previously. Video of that jump showed that she was so far over as to make five metres seem almost a foregone conclusion; save for the psychological barrier the height seems to present.
She tried five metres earlier in the European season at Mannheim, but told reporters she made the height, but came down straight on the bar. She told reporters that five metres is less scary now, as she has tried on several occasions and more vaulters seem willing to give it a try.
Speaking over her performance at Mannheim, she told reporters, “There was no expectation or stress or nerves, and that meant I could just work on the runup and my jump. The funny thing is it clearly still needs a lot more work which is exciting because I’ve got all season to do that.”