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McTaggart vaults into the Toyota family


Olivia McTaggart, New Zealand’s latest pole vaulting sensation, has joined forces with Toyota as she sets her sights on two major goals this year and more targets in the future.

The just turned 18-year-old will be using Toyota’s compact SUV, the C-HR, to ferry herself and her pole vault poles around Auckland and further afield in her build up to April’s Gold Coast based Commonwealth Games.

“I’m excited to get my own car,” said Olivia, who has had to share her mother’s car to zip around to all the different places she needs to be for training and Commonwealth Games preparation.

The C-HR will be easy to spot with the five-metre-long, pole vault poles strapped to the roof rack.

McTaggart is the first New Zealand athlete to join long standing Toyota Ambassador, Dame Valerie Adams, and gain support from Toyota New Zealand, since the announcement of the world-wide partnership with the Olympic movement.

Ironically, she will be returning to her birth place when she competes at the Commonwealth Games, as she previously lived at Southport on the Gold Coast. Southport is only a five-minute drive from the athletics stadium at Kurrawa.

Her family – Mum is a Kiwi and Dad an Aussie - came to New Zealand when she was five-years-old.

McTaggart will have company in the Games Village, as her brother Cameron, has been selected in the weight lifting squad, to compete in the 77 kgs division.

Equally important as the Commonwealth Games are the Junior World Championships at Tampere in Finland in July, where based on world rankings, she has a chance of medalling.

On her way to the Gold Coast, McTaggart has broken Olympic bronze medallist Eliza McCartney’s Under 17 national record. Last December she set a new national secondary school’s record of 4.30 metres, breaking McCartney’s record, in her final appearance in that competition.

At the Gold Coast McTaggart will compete alongside and against McCartney. The pair often train together as they are both coached by Jeremy McColl.

A self-confessed adrenalin junkie, McTaggart spent 10 years as a gymnast before a back injury forced her to quit that sport and at a friend’s suggestion, try pole vaulting.

“I love the thrill-seeking sports,” admits McTaggart, who has also tried rock climbing.

“It’s a completely different feeling popping off the top of the pole up in the air. It’s a little bit scary, but that’s why I do it.”