Kiwi pole-vaulter won bronze with broken hand and foot

New Zealand's latest pole-vaulting star Imogen Ayris has revealed she not only competed in the final of her event at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games with a broken hand, but also with a broken foot.

Ayris told The New Zealand Herald following her bronze medal vault of 4.45m that she discovered a broken bone in her hand earlier this year, caused by an old gymnastics injury.

Now Ayris says she found out following the final that her foot was also in a sorry state.

Arriving at a celebratory lunch for Kiwi athletes at New Zealand House in Edgbaston on Thursday wearing a moon boot, Ayris told 1News that she had to block out the pain as she fought for her medal.

"[The pain] was there but it wasn't what I was thinking about, it wasn't what I was worried about," she said.

"I'm quite good at ignoring pain. I've jumped with some pretty wacky injuries in the past so it didn't affect me at all. It was there but it wasn't."

Imogen Ayris overcame the odds to win bronze in Birmingham. Photo: Getty Images
Imogen Ayris overcame the odds to win bronze in Birmingham. Photo: Getty Images
Ayris said she wasn't even sure how the break occurred and had purposely downplayed her pain leading up the event.

"It's been a little niggly for a while - when I got off a plane in America [before last month's world championships in Oregon] for a session I felt it a bit but I just thought that it was from the travel.

"I kept training on it, it kind of went away, and then it came back a bit. We were strapping it up for training sessions, didn't modify any training, and then after competition we got it scanned to figure out what was really going on and it was fractured.

"I had probably downplayed it in the past two weeks building up to this but I didn't want to make it a thing if it wasn't a thing."

The break has forced the rising star to cancel a planned athletics campaign in Europe and instead return to New Zealand to rehabilitate the injury.

"I'm going to go home, put my feet up and let this bone heal," she said.


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