25 Aug 2014

Eight New Zealanders in Continental Cup Selection

Eight New Zealanders in Continental Cup Selection

Author: Comms Admin  /  Categories: News  / 

Eight New Zealand athletes will be competing at the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco on 13-14 September.

Four of New Zealand's medal winners at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games have been selected for the Asia/Pacific team, along with four other athletes, three of whom were at Glasgow.

Shot Putters Valerie Adams and Tom Walsh lead the selection and are joined by fellow medallists middle distance runners Nick Willis and Zane Robertson. Glasgow teammates Angie Smit, Sarah Cowley and Louise Jones have also been selected and Michael Cochrane who missed Glasgow selection has recently been added.

Commonwealth Games hammer silver medallist Julia Ratcliffe was not available due to study commitments in the US and Nikki Hamblin who was also invited, has finished her season to commence her build-up for 2015.

Four teams - Europe, Americas, Asia/Pacific and Africa are each represented by two athletes across a full programme of events, providing high quality finals over two action-packed days. The two athletes in each event must come from different countries within the team.

Selections for the Europe and Africa teams were based on their respective Area championships held recently, while the selections for the Americas and Asia/Pacific teams were based on rankings at 2 August taking into account the one athlete per country in an event, injuries and unavailability.

In 1977 the first IAAF World Cup – the forerunner of the current IAAF Continental Cup - took place in the German city of Düsseldorf. It was a huge success, coming in the wake of the boycott-marred Olympic Games in Montreal the previous summer.

Eight teams, representing the top two nations in Europe, the USA, and five continental teams, did battle, with New Zealand part of the Oceania team.

No fewer than 309 athletes from 54 different countries took part and the attendance over the three days was 135,000. 

From these beginnings, the World Cup then went on to be staged in 1979 in Montreal (CAN), 1981 Rome (ITA), 1985 Canberra (AUS), 1989 Barcelona (ESP), 1992 Havana (CUB), 1994 London (GBR), 1998 Johannesburg (RSA), 2002 Madrid (ESP) and 2006 Athens (GRE).

In 2008 the IAAF Council changed the format of the event and the IAAF World Cup was transformed into the IAAF Continental Cup.

Changes were made to the composition of the participating teams in order to make the event more understandable and interesting for fans, and to achieve a better balance of strengths among the teams.

Gone were the national teams and in their place now are squads from Europe, Americas, Asia/Pacific and Africa.

The first edition of the Continental Cup was in 2010 with the Croatian city of Split acting as the host and saw Americas come out on top with 422.5 points, just 5.5 points in front of Europe. Once again, the two powerhouse teams of Europe and the America's are predicted to battle for the Cup, but a tight contest is expected between the less powerful teams representing Africa and Asia/Pacific.

New Zealand athletes in the Asia/Pacific team:

 Valerie Adams  Shot Put
 Michael Cochrane  400 hurdles
 Sarah Cowley  High Jump
 Louise Jones  400
 Zane Robertson  5000
 Angie Smit  800
 Tom Walsh  Shot Put
 Nick Willis  1500 and 3000


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