News & Updates

26 March 2023 • Track and Field

McCartney secures World Championship entry standard in Brisbane

Eliza McCartney produces a top quality performance with a 4.71m clearance at the Brisbane Track Classic. Credit (Alisha Lovrich).

New Zealand athletes flew the flag with pride to claim a deluge of victories at the Brisbane Track Classic on Saturday (25 March) led by Eliza McCartney, who posted a season’s best and World Championship entry standard of 4.71m to win the women’s pole vault.

After facing her injury challenges in recent years, the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist has suggested throughout a confidence boosting season – which included a first New Zealand title for six years – a return to her vintage best.

And tonight at the Continental Tour Silver meet the 26-year-old Aucklander emphatically underlined this point by bettering her season’s best by 10cm to achieve the entry standard for the Budapest World Championships.

McCartney flirted with danger at her opening height of 4.45m, requiring a third time clearance to stay involved in the competition.

However, after the early scare she found her rhythm at her next height of 4.65m, soaring clear at the first time of asking before the bar was raised to that critical 4.71m height. After missing out with her opening attempt she pinged over with her second effort to secure her best height since January 2019.

Olivia McTaggart – who has already clinched the 4.71m World Championship entry standard – had to settle for second tonight with a best of 4.45m. New Zealand completed a clean sweep of the podium with Imogen Ayris taking third in 4.25m.

McCartney said: “I’m elated and relieved and I’m quite exhausted too, I put a lot into that today.

“I’m finding my feet quite a bit and this season and it is all about lots of practise jumping. At my opening height (of 4.45m) I must have had four or five attempts at that height because I kept pulling out with dodgy winds and walking back on the runway, which it not how you want to do it.

“This week in training I’ve started doing a 14-step run up, which is my favourite – that was my step up when winning bronze in Rio and for my PB (of 4.94m in 2018).

“I think that extra speed (from the 14-step run-up) meant I didn’t have to work so hard (at clearing 4.71m), even though I’m on similar poles, and I can just go for it.”

Zoe Hobbs extended her unbeaten record for the year by claiming a convincing victory in the women’s 100m, recording a time of 11.20 (-0.1).

The 25-year-old sprinter, who set an Oceania record of 10.97 at the Sydney Track Classic two weeks ago, could not quite match that performance today after making a far from perfect start.

But she quickly recovered to establish her usual rhythm and streaked to victory by a margin of 0.22 from Australian Bree Masters with Veronica Shanti Pereira of Singapore completing the podium in third (11.47).

Hobbs said: “I’ve had a lot of back to back racing but it is really cool to get back and run against the Aussies and set anther consistent time. It wasn’t what I was hoping for, and I didn’t get the best start, but it nice to come over here and gain more racing experience.”

Eddie Osei-Nketia signed off his athletics career in style to inflict defeat on his Australian rival Rohan Browning and claim an emphatic victory in the men’s 100m, recording a slick season’s best mark of 10.13 (-1.0m/s).

Osei-Nketia, the New Zealand 100m record-holder who is leaving the sport to take up American Football at the University of Hawai’i, produced a blistering start and quickly established control of the race.

Running with great intent and determination he extended his advantage over the final 30m to surge clear of Browning who had to settle for second in 10.29. New Zealand 100m champion Tiaan Whelpton took some good scalps to snatch third in 10.34.    

Osei-Nketia said post-race: “It’s emotional now that I’m leaving the sport. It is heart-breaking. All the memories I’ve made and all the competitors I’ve competed against. It is sad, but all good things come to an end.”

James Preston maintained his 100 per cent record over the two-lap distance in 2023 to claim another Kiwi victory at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre with an assured men’s 800m victory in 1:47.00.

Sitting in midfield at the bell, Preston, the New Zealand all-time 800m number three, made a decisive move down the back straight on the final lap accelerating quickly to the front before repelling the challenge of Australia’s Jack Lunn to clinch top spot by 0.15. Lunn’s countryman Jamie Harrison picked up third in 1:47.39 with Kiwi Brad Mathas, the national 800m silver medallist, crossing the line fourth in 1:47.58.

Rosie Elliott dug deep to preserve her unbeaten women’s 400m record in 2023 to overhaul Ellie Beer in the latter stages and grab an absorbing victory in 52.88.

The New Zealand champion executed a conservative first 200m but the tactic proved a masterstroke as she finished with her familiar surge to gun down the Australian Beer and earn victory by a margin of 0.19.

Double Paralympic long jump champion Anna Grimaldi showed impressive sprint form to record 12.61 (+0.9) – and come within 0.01 of her national T47 100m record in the women’s para 100m.

The 26-year-old Dunedin-based athlete rocketed out of the blocks and accelerated clear of the rest of the field to cross the line in top spot.

New Zealand double Paralympic sprint medallist Danielle Aitchison T36 also produced a good run to cross the line sixth in 14.19.

Despite unleashing a blistering late-finish New Zealand 200m champion Georgia Hulls had to settle for second in 23.16 (-0.4m/s) in a captivating women’s 200m.

Australian Ella Connolly equalled her season’s best in 23.12 to claim a narrow win with Singapore’s Veronica Shanti Pereira matching Hulls’ time in third to set a PB.

Australian-based Kiwi Dhruv Rodrigues Chico smashed his PB by 0.15 to win the 200m B race in 20.81 (+1.7) and catapulted to ninth on the all-time New Zealand lists for the distance with an performance of merit.

The 24-year-old New Zealand champion entered the home straight three metres adrift of Aussie Christopher Ius but remaining calm and composed he powered through in the latter stages to clinch victory by a margin of 0.13. New Zealand 200m bronze medallist Tommy Te Puni placed sixth in 21.23.  

Aucklander Hamish Gill also performed well in the men’s 200m A race matching his PB to run 20.91 (-1.1) to finish fifth behind Japan’s Shota Ilzuka who clocked a swift 20.53.

Nick Southgate set a season’s best and matched the fourth best performance of his career to clear 5.35m and place second in the men’s pole vault behind Commonwealth champion Kurtis Marschall, who cleared a world-class 5.85m

New Zealand pole vault champion James Steyn placed equal fourth with a best of 5.10m.  

New Zealand record-holder Tori Peeters placed third in the women’s javelin with a best of 54.70m. Commonwealth Games silver medallist Mackenzie Little of Australia claimed top spot with a leading throw of 60.69m.

National 800m silver medallist Jennie Hauke produced a season’s best of 2:05.35 to finish seventh in a high-quality women’s 800m won by Australian record-holder Catriona Bisset in 1:59.74.

Results here