McCartney vaults to win in Belgium
New Zealand pole vaulter Eliza McCartney has won an important event in Belgium to boost her world championships hopes.
The Rio Olympic Games bronze medallist recorded 4.61m at the Night of Athletics meet in Heusden-Zolder yesterday.
McCartney - on the comeback trail after an Achilles tendon problem - is preparing for her first world championships, which start in London on August 4.
McCartney, who set a personal best and Oceania record 4.82m clearance at the Auckland Track Challenge last February, nailed 4.61m at her first attempt in Belgium, but failed with three bids for 4.71m.
She before competing at Heusen-Zolder that if she could win in Belgium it would be ‘‘really, really promising for London’’.
She said: ‘‘Every day there is progress, and we’re staying confident, I’ve got a great team around me and I’m doing everything I can.’’
McCartney won comfortably from Ukraine’s Maryna Kylypko (4.51m). Australia’s Liz Parnov and China’s Xu Huiquin tied for third on 4.41m.
New Zealand sprinter Joseph Millar ran 20.95sec to finish fourth in the 200m at Heusden-Zolder.
Middle distance runner Malcolm Hicks set a personal best of 13min 37.31sec in finishing 11th in the 5000m B race.
On Saturday, Nick Willis confirmed his qualification for the world championships with a slick season’s-best run in Europe.
A two-time Olympic medallist, the Kiwi 1500m veteran clocked 3m 34.74s at the Diamond League meet in Monaco.
While the time was only good enough for 10th among a world class field, it was comfortably under the Athletics New Zealand A standard for the event of 3:36.00.
It was also more than two seconds under his previous best this season of 3:36.95.
Willis was pleased with his performance.
‘‘Most satisfying 10th place since qualifying for Athens 2004,’’ he posted on Twitter soon after the race.