Vaulter Eliza McCartney to soar over shoppers in new athletics series

Eliza McCartney will be the headline act at the New Zealand international athletics series in February.
MARTY MELVILLE/PHOTOSPORT

Eliza McCartney will be the headline act at the New Zealand international athletics series in February.

Athletics officials are certain Eliza McCartney won't break through the glass ceiling; they've scheduled a pole vaulter competition in Auckland's Britomart centre.

Fans can watch the Olympic bronze medallist contest the "Vertical Pursuit" indoors at The Atrium on Wednesday, February 22.

Top men's and women's pole vaulters will compete in a free public event indoors under The Atrium's glass roof in downtown Auckland.

Tom Walsh earned a bronze medal for New Zealand at the Rio Olympics.
PHOTOSPORT

Tom Walsh earned a bronze medal for New Zealand at the Rio Olympics.

It will be the first indoor pole vault competition staged at Britomart.

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Officials hoped to lure leading American vaulters to challenge McCartney, alongside rising young New Zealander Olivia McTaggert who will get her first taste of elite international competition.

It is part of a revamped Athletics New Zealand international series, spearheaded by Kiwi Rio Olympic track and field stars Tom Walsh, McCartney, Nick Willis and Liam Malone.

The three-legged series will comprise street events in Christchurch and Auckland, as well as the annual Auckland Track Challenge (ATC) which next year will be held at the AUT Millennium Stadium on Auckland's North Shore.

The New Zealand stars will be joined by several leading international competitors, headed by Rio Olympic men's shot put gold medallist Ryan Crouser who will resume his rivalry with Walsh in a match-up that should be the highlight of the summer programme.

The series will kick off on Sunday February 19 in Christchurch with the Big Shot and Fast K, comprising an international men's shot put competition and a 1000m street race, both staged in the CBD.

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The shot put will see Walsh and fellow Kiwi Olympian Jacko Gill joined by Crouser, American compatriot Ryan Whiting and top Aussie Damien Birkinhead, among others.

It is hoped to attract leading middle-distance runners from New Zealand and Australia for the street race.

The "Vertical Pursuit" is three days later, while ATC will complete the schedule on Sunday February 26 where the women's pole vault and men's shot put will again be feature events on a busy programme that will also include the "People's Mile", an interactive public event supported by two-time Olympic 1500m medallist Nick Willis.

Athletics New Zealand International Series:

February 19 2017: The Mike Greer Homes Big Shot and Fast K, Christchurch CBD.  Events: Shot put and middle-distance running.

February 22: Vertical Pursuit, The Atrium – Britomart, Auckland CBD. Events: Pole vault.

February 26: Auckland Track Challenge, AUT Millennium Stadium, North Shore, Auckland. Events: Pole vault, shot put, sprinting, middle distance running.

 - Stuff

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