Jordanstown athlete selected for NI Commonwealth Games team

An award-winning pole vaulter from Jordanstown has said her selection for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham is a “highlight in her athletics career to date.”

Ellie McCartney (22) has been pole vaulting for almost ten years and is the Northern Irish U18, Irish U20 and U23 record holder, with a personal best of 4.24m.

The Newtownabbey athlete is being supported by Ballyclare firm, Hagan Homes, as she gears up for the Games which run from July 28 until August 8.

Thanking Hagan Homes for the support and explaining how she got into pole vaulting, Ellie said: “I’m very grateful to Hagan Homes for their support as it means I can focus all my efforts over the coming months on my training regime. I currently train six days a week, but I’m doing something that I love doing and working towards my ambition.

James Hagan with Ellie McCartney. Photo by William Cherry // Press Eye.

“I initially became interested in sport when I was four years old - I did gymnastics and loved the beam. I represented Northern Ireland in gymnastics when I was young, which is when my love for competing in sport began. Then at the age of 12, I decided to move into athletics trying out some different events before I was introduced to pole vaulting and it was something that felt really natural.

“I went to Belfast High School and received a sports scholarship to go to Brunel University London to study Sports Science. During Covid, I returned home, studied online and then had the opportunity to go to Loughborough University in England, which has a fantastic pole vaulting facility. I also have the direction of a superb coach, Kate Rooney. I’ve learnt so much and I feel that I’m progressing really well.

“Last year I competed at the European U23 championships and finished thirteenth. This year, I’ve achieved the NI Commonwealth Games qualification standard and as a first year senior I am aiming to set the NI senior record. Representing Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games is a real honour and definitely a highlight in my athletic career to date.”

Explaining the importance of supporting local talent James Hagan, Founder and Chair, Hagan Homes, added: “They say ‘home is where the heart is’ and for us this expression is embedded in our culture. We do all we can to put the heart into local communities and we support a range of teams, individuals and organisations, that strive to make a difference.

“Ellie is totally committed to her goal of being a top athlete. She’s been active in the sporting world for years and we believe she can achieve her ambitions and inspire and encourage others to strive for theirs.

“Competing incurs significant travel costs, getting equipment to the location, having adequate equipment to train with and we hope our donation will assist with these costs. We wish her all the very best for the Commonwealth Games this summer.”

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