Eliza McCartney likely to sacrifice shot at $72,000 prize to focus on Commonwealth Games video

Stuff.co.nz

NZ pole vault star Eliza McCartney is gearing up for northern hemisphere competitions.

Kiwi pole vault sensation Eliza McCartney looks set to forego a potential US$50,000 (NZ$72,000) Diamond League series win bonus because she does not want to compromise her 2018 Commonwealth Games campaign.

McCartney, the 20-year-old Olympic bronze medallist from Devonport, on Auckand's North Shore, leaves New Zealand on May 30 to begin her buildup for August's world championships in London.

It will be her first tilt at the outdoors global championships, and will be her pinnacle event for 2017.

Eliza McCartney has a big decision to make about the Diamond League finals later in the year.
LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Eliza McCartney has a big decision to make about the Diamond League finals later in the year.

But she will also take part in a scheduled four Diamond League meets prior to the world champs, in Rome (June 8), Oslo (June 15), Stockholm (June 18) and London (July 9).

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But it's the question of whether she will remain behind post-world champs to compete in the new-look Diamond League finals, and chase the $72,000 bonus at stake for event champions, that right now throws up a surprising answer.

The women's pole vault final will be in Brussels on September 1, nearly three weeks after the world championships.

"I'm unsure yet," she says of plans to stay on for the new-look Diamond League finale. "At the moment it's no.

"It is a potential big payday. But the thing I'm weighing up at the moment is I haven't been to a Commonwealth Games before and because it's in April it's really soon after I get back from the world champs and I want to make sure I have good preparation for it.

"I want to really nail it, and the only risk of doing the Diamond League finals is it's another month overseas, and then it's less time to prepare for the Commonwealth Games."

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McCartney, who has the second best outdoor vault in the world in 2017 with her 4.82m Oceania record clearance in Auckland in February, admits the Diamond League crown would be tempting to chase.

"It's not a definite no, but at the moment my thinking is more around the future and not rushing things so I'm fully prepared for the Commonwealth Games.

"I've kinda decided I don't want to rush my career. But also you've got to live in the moment. It's a hard decision but we'll just have to assess things as we go."

McCartney says she is trying not to focus on a medal outcome for the London world championships, and take a similar approach to the one that worked so well for her in Rio.

"Success would be going into the final for the world championships. That would be amazing, and already top 12, so that would be a really good start. Then it's the same story as Rio really, being able to jump the best I can in the world champs, and if that means I come 12th but I think I jumped the best I could on the day, then I'd be pretty happy.

"On the other side of things, I'm on the longer runup so looking at PBs would be awesome."

 - Stuff

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