News & Updates

11 March 2023 • Track and Field

McTaggart shatters PB and posts World Championships entry standard

Olivia McTaggart produced a world-class performance today at the Auckland Champs at AUT Millennium, clearing a height of 4.71m. (Credit: Alisha Lovrich).

Olivia McTaggart produced the competition of her life today to win the Auckland Championships with a 6cm PB and World Championship entry standard mark of 4.71m at AUT Millennium.

In yet another competition which demonstrated the strength in depth of New Zealand pole vaulting, former Olympic bronze medallist Eliza McCartney picked up silver by matching her season’s best of 4.61m and Imogen Ayris, the Commonwealth bronze medallist, added 1cm to her PB to clear 4.51m and claim third.

Last weekend at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships, McCartney edged a thrilling battle for McTaggart on countback after both cleared 4.61m but today it was McTaggart’s turn to finish top of the pile, and she did so with a world-class performance.

Entering the competition with a first-time clearance at 4.41m, the 23-year-old then successfully negotiated 4.51m and 4.61m before wriggling clear at 4.71m with her third attempt to better her PB of 4.65m set when winning the 2022 national title in Hastings.

“I’m ecstatic,” said a jubilant McTaggart, who last year finished sixth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and fourth at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. “I’m still in shock a little bit. I didn’t think today would be the day I would get 4.71m but everything came together and I really worked for it. I put so much technical strategy into the competition, I enjoyed it so much. I’m so happy.”

McTaggart said she came into the competition with no expectations, but simply stuck to her processes and cleared the “clutch” jump at 4.71m with her final effort.

“I went back to old habits for my first two attempts (at 4.71m), so I knew I had to change a few things around. I was on my stiffest and biggest pole, so I had to make it work. When I look back it wasn’t the prettiest jump I’ve done, but it goes to show there is a lot more potential there.

“I wasn’t sure jumping 4.71m would happen this soon but Jeremy (McColl, McTaggart’s coach) said I was in 4.70m shape. I’ve done a PB pretty much every year I’ve competed, so to do so again and get that World Championship entry standard of 4.71m is perfect timing.”

To put the performance into context, it was a world leading outdoor effort in 2023 and 4.71m would have placed her fourth at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene.

McTaggart, McCartney and Ayris will be in action again on Thursday (16 March) at the Sir Graeme Douglas International presented by Harcourts Cooper & Co at Trusts Arena in West Auckland.