By Symone Tafuna'i - RNZ Sport

Pole Vaulter Olivia McTaggart credits Commonwealth bronze medallist, Imogen Ayris and Rio Olympian medallist Eliza McCartney for pushing her to jump new heights.

The 22-year-old who trains with McCartney and regularly competes against Ayris says there's a competitive bond between them.

"All three of us have been pushing each other getting to our highest heights".

McTaggart had reached a life time best of 4.71m in March at the Auckland Track and Field Championships, qualifying her for her second World Track and Field Championships.

She says a life long determination continues to push her.

"I have chosen to be an Olympian since a young age, so the drive has been there from the start and I am not going to stop until I get".

She's represented New Zealand at Commonwealth Games and World Championships, but not the Olympics.

McTaggart says her olympic dream started when she was a young gymnast.

"It's been there for a long time and will continue to be there until I get it and even onwards when my goals exceed that".

Unfortunately stress fractures cut short her gymnastics career but the Olympic dream remained.

Her transition to pole vault was inspired by her current coach Jeremy McColl who came to her primary school to do an exhibition on pole vault.

She watched Imogen Ayris transition from gymnastics to pole vault and got hooked on the sport while watching it at the 2014 Youth Olympics where her weightlifting brother, Cameron, was competing.

"A few different thing lead me to [pole vault] and I couldn't be more grateful for those 3 stress fractures".

McTaggart holds two national age group records to go with her five national age group titles and one senior title.

Last summer she was pipped for the title on a countback by McCartney.

She says that McCartney's return has benefited her performance as they both push each other to jump their best.

"Pole vault is one of those sports where it's you against the bar and you're striving to get better for yourself not better then someone else".

However she did manage to pip McCartney a couple of weeks later at the Auckland Championships.

"I wasn't even thinking of beating (McCartney) on the day. Eliza could of got 5m and I would of still been happy with the 4.71m for myself".

She says the competition with McCartney and Ayres works well.

"It's not so much about winning but more about getting those personal bests and heights that's our own intrinsic goals."

The Bays Athletics jumper will be competing at multiple european competitions leading up to the Budapest World Athletics Championships in August.

"Right now I am doing everything that I can to be the healthiest, fittest and happiest I can possibly be".

After that she'll be setting her sights on the 2024 Paris Olympics with the qualifying timeframe for that opening in July.


2023-05-25T17:54:46Z dg43tfdfdgfd