Athletes raise the bar on sport's profile

20:18, Jan 31 2013
Nick Southgate
UP AND OVER: Nick Southgate demonstrates his pole vaulting skills by the Bridge of Remembrance.

International athletes leapt the height of a house in City Mall last night with the Bridge of Remembrance backdrop as their arc of triumph.

American ace Megan Jamerson used borrowed poles to win the women's Summer Vaults pole vaulting competition and Auckland teenager Pascal Kethers equalled his personal best to take the men's title.

The Summer Vaults series, held outside Auckland for the first time, is the brainchild of New Zealand Olympic decathlete Brent Newdick, who brought it to Christchurch last night on his 28th birthday.

The novel event - and the Re:start Mall setting - got the thumbs-up from the elite competitors, who had to contend with a gusty wind which blew the bar off its rail in the early stages.

"It's an awesome venue and there was great support from the crowd," said Kethers, 17, who soared to 4.80m to equal the mark he set at the Sylvia Potts Classic in Hastings a fortnight ago.

"It's great to get more profile for pole vaulting."


Women's winner Jamerson and former American decathlon champion Jake Arnold arrived in Auckland for the first leg of Summer Vaults without their poles, which, Newdick told the Christchurch crowd, the airline would not permit on board.

Jamerson had to use local equipment but it not stop her from winning the women's title with a top height of 4m.

She edged out promising Kiwi Eliza McCartney, who recently qualified for the world youth championships with a personal best of 4.01m.

Summer Vaults was held to help promote tomorrow's International Track Meet at Christ's College.

Many of the eight men and six women who competed last night will take part. Newdick lines up in the quadrathon.

The Press