19 Jan 2018

Young pole vaulter takes aim at Commonwealth Games

4:32 pm on 19 January 2018

Pole vaulter Olivia McTaggart says she will be training as if she's heading to the Commonwealth Games before the selection is made next month.

Polevaulter Olivia McTaggart.

Polevaulter Olivia McTaggart. Photo: Alisha Lovrich

The 18-year-old has the same coach as Olympic bronze-medallist Eliza McCartney and her brother, Cameron, has already secured his spot representing New Zealand in weightlifting.

She said she was working to improve her personal best of 4.40m.

"Right now I've got the 'B Standard', which is my [personal best], which I've done once," she said.

"It's just going to be pretty full-on now which is really exciting because I love competing and going overseas."

She was allowed to take Christmas and Boxing Day off but that was it with training season in full-swing, she said.

Olivia McTaggart.

Olivia McTaggart. Photo: Alisha Lovrich

McTaggart got into pole vaulting after a back injury ended her 10-year gymnastics career when she was 14.

Hunting for a new sport, she chose pole vaulting after a friend - now pole vault training partner, Imogen Ayris - got her on board.

"She just basically lured me into the sport and I just fell in love with it straight away."

The spatial awareness, strength and power required made it similar to gymnastics, she said.

McTaggart has just finished high school in Auckland and planned to focus on sport this year.

But first, she wants to make the team heading to the Gold Coast in April and join her brother.

They both supported each other, she said.

"We've always been trying to get to the Commonwealth Games so for us to both go would be really cool."