News & Updates

3 March 2024 • High Performance

McCartney claims stunning World Indoor silver and Hobbs banks fourth in the 60m

Eliza McCartney claimed her first global medal for eight years with silver at the World Athletics Indoor Championships. Credit: Getty Images.

New Zealand women enjoyed a special day at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow as Eliza McCartney soared high to take pole vault silver and Zoe Hobbs twice obliterated the Oceania record to finish a magnificent fourth in the women’s 60m.

For McCartney it was a first international podium finish for six years since taking Commonwealth silver on the Gold Coast and was rich reward after years of injury frustration for the 27-year-old Aucklander.

The Kiwi has showed signs of returning to her best over the past 12 months or so and today a 4.80m clearance earned her silver only just missing out on the gold to her training partner Molly Caudery of Great Britain on countback. World and Olympic champion Katie Moon of the USA took bronze with 4.75m.

In a competition packed with drama, in which French vaulter Margot Chevrier suffered a serious ankle injury which prompted a long delay – McCartney had two vaults to strike gold at 4.90m only to agonisingly miss out with her final attempt.

McCartney opened her competition inside a packed Emirates Arena with a comfortable first-time clearance at 4.55m before suffering a minor mishap at 4.65m, striking the bar with her first effort before finding rediscovering her co-ordinates to fly clear with her second crack – some 18.7cm over the bar according to World Athletics stats.

The Kiwi seized control of the competition at 4.75m as the only athlete in the field to soar clear at this height with her first attempt – a height only three other women; Caudery, Moon and Angelica Moser of Switzerland managed to negotiate.

The next height of 4.80m saw the end of both Moon, who has been struggling with an Achilles injury, and Moser as the battle for gold became a straight shootout between the 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medallist Eliza McCartney and Caudery.

However, the destiny of the gold medal at 4.80m shifted to the Briton, who shares the same coach, Scott Simpson, as McCartney. While the world leader and home favourite managed to wriggle over 4.80m with her second effort, it required a third-time clearance for McCartney to achieve the same feat which put Caudery’s nose in front on the countback rule.

With the bar raised to 4.85m, Caudery missed out with her first effort and the Kiwi ran through for a foul for her first attempt. But after a second missed attempt from the home athlete, McCartney opted to pass her remaining attempts and raise the bar to 4.90m.

While Caudery found 4.85m beyond her today, this gave the Kiwi two attempts at 4.90m – a height which would have been the third best height of her career – to snatch gold. While she bailed out of her first attempt, her second and final effort was agonisingly close. She appeared to sail over the bar only to dislodge the bar on the way back down.

Nonetheless, the silver medal ensured a first global podium since she burst on to the international scene at the age of 19 winning Olympic bronze at the Rio Olympics.

McCartney, who became the fifth Kiwi in history to win a World Indoor medal after Dame Valerie Adams, Tom Walsh, Nick Willis and Hamish Kerr, said: “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I am just really stoked to have been a part of such a neat competition. Now I have this medal, I’m so happy.

Describing the injury to Chevrier as “awful” she tried remained focused and gave a simple reason as to why she opted to pass at 4.85m and go up to the next height of 4.90m.

“I was getting exhausted, and I just wanted to look at 4.90m again. It’s been many years, maybe since 2018 since I tried 4.90m. I just really felt I needed that tonight. I’m glad I did because I think I had a good attempt at 4.90 and that’s what I wanted from this competition.”

Zoe Hobbs blitzed to her finest ever display on the global stage by twice breaking the Oceania record on an unforgettable day capped by a fourth-place finish in the women’s 60m final in a scintillating 7.06.

The 26-year-old sprint star opened her account by cruising through the morning heats in second, posting 7.15 – within 0.02 of her Oceania record time set at the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow before the real fireworks began in the semi-finals.

Drawn in the second of three semi-finals, Hobbs finished strongly to take third in 7.09 to wipe four hundredths from the previous New Zealand and Oceania record, finishing behind American Aleia Hobbs (7.04) and Italian Zaynab Dosso (7.05). The Kiwi did not gain one of the automatic final spots but advanced the medal race as one of the two next fastest athletes across all three semis.

A little under two hours later she returned for the final and drawn for the outside lane eight and remaining composed – despite a delay to the start after her namesake Aleia Hobbs appeared to pick up a pre-race injury – Hobbs showed incredible maturity and class to run even quicker in the final.

Producing the fastest reaction time out of the blocks in the final she once again showed impressive closing speed to wipe a further three hundredths from her Oceania record to record 7.06 – just 0.01 behind Dosso, the bronze medallist. Julien Alfred of St Lucia struck gold by equalling the world leading time of 6.98 ahead of Ewa Swoboda of Poland in silver (7.00).

This was another huge step forward in the upwardly mobile sprinting career of Hobbs and she also became the most successful Kiwi in the history of the 60m at the World Indoor Championships by eclipsing the performance of Gus Nketia who finished sixth in the men’s 60m final at the 1995 edition in Barcelona (note, too that Kim Robertson of New Zealand placed fifth in the 60m final at the 1985 World Indoor Games, the forerunner to the World Indoor Championships).

A delighted Hobbs said: “Tonight was awesome. I executed the race, and I was only 0.01 away from a medal, I was that close. The biggest takeaway was I was able to back this up through the rounds and I got quicker and quicker.

“I was probably more nervous for the semi final because I drew a tough heat, and I knew I had to execute that race in order to progress. Once I was in that final, I felt like I could relax a little more which helped.

“I got a good start in the final, but the transition was not so good. I then felt like I was coming home super quick. I only needed another metre to get that medal. It is confidence boost, and all good preparation towards the Paris Olympics.”

The Kiwis competing in the third and final day of action at the World Athletics Indoor Championships are: All times NZT.


Morning Session

00:55 – Hamish Kerr – Men’s high jump final

Afternoon session

10:30 – George Beamish – Men’s 1500m final

10:45 – Maia Ramsden – Women’s 1500m final


***For the full event timetable and results go here

***All the action at the World Athletics Indoor Championships will be livestreamed at World Athletics Inside Track. Sign up to follow the livestream and live results here