Eliza McCartney: ‘The odds are against me’


Pole vaulter Eliza McCartney has accepted that she probably won’t make the Tokyo Olympics, but already has her sights on a busy 2022 athletics season.

Photo: Supplied


McCartney has one last chance to qualify for Tokyo this weekend, but her on-going injury problems mean she won’t be in top form for the jump-off in Auckland.

The 24 year old had gone into the three weeks of events feeling good that she’d be able to give the qualifying height of 4.70 metres a nudge.

She managed to get through a few jumps in the first outing, however in last weekend’s second attempt she was unable to even get off the ground as pain in her achilles-ankle flared up during warmups.


So with the deadline of June 22 looming, this is her last chance.

“The odds are against me and I’ve known that and I’m okay with that as that’s just my reality at the moment… but because of all those reasons I think it’s worth just giving it one last shot.”

McCartney’s career has been blighted with injuries since she claimed a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.


Achilles problems affected her build-up to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where she finished second.

And 2019 was almost a complete washout which meant she didn’t compete at the World Championships in Doha.

It was then revealed that the cause of her problems might be a genetic disorder.


Tests showed the disorder caused autoimmune inflammation, particularly affecting tendons.

If Olympic qualification doesn’t happen, the Auckland student may take an extended break for the rest of the year, something she’s never done before.

“As an athlete there is only so long that you can have a break for before it becomes detrimental, I’m certainly someone who doesn’t do well when returning fro a break and often get injured.”


“But this time round it’ll be different if I’m not going to Tokyo there is more of an opportunity to take a real break and see if that helps as it’s the one thing I’ve not really had and from a medical perspective it could be one thing worth trying and try and de-stress the body a bit.”

Eliza McCartney.



But all going well she wouldn’t be down for long.

She says that if she was lucky enough to stay healthy then she’d like to be competing until she’s thirty which would hopefully include the Paris 2024 and and LA 2028 Olympics.

McCartney says she and her team have also been talking about what lies ahead next year which includes both the indoor and outdoor world championships and the Commonwealth Games.


“Next year is a really big year, bigger than usual because of Covid, and I really want to be fit and healthy for that.”

“The good thing about sport is that there’s always something else coming up and so if you miss out on one thing, its not long before the next opportunity comes up.”

Fellow Aucklander Olivia McTaggart will also attempt to gain an Olympic pole-vault qualifying mark this weekend.


In April a 15-person athletics team was named for the Olympics.

Shot put: Dame Valerie Adams, Tom Walsh, Jacko Gill and Maddison-Lee Wesche.

Runners: Nick Willis, Sam Tanner, Camille Buscomb, Malcolm Hicks and Zane Robertson.


Walker: Quentin Rew.

Discus: Connor Bell.

Hammer Throw: Julia Ratcliffe and Lauren Bruce.


Javelin: Tori Peeters.

High Jump: Hamish Kerr.


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