Above: Connor Bell on his way to gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas. Photo by Scott Barbour Getty Images Sport
Not even a break for a lightning storm part way through the competition could stop New Zealand discus thrower Connor Bell from winning the gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas this morning.
Bell, from Auckland, grabbed the lead in the second round with a throw of 61.60m, just before all the competitors and officials were ushered from the track during a burst of lightning strikes.
Wales’ James Tomlinson challenged with 60.04 in the third round after the one hour break, but the 16 year old Kiwi confirmed his dominance with a throw of 63.17m and another over 63m.
“I’ve focussed on my processes in the build up to this, not worrying about others but looking at myself and what I needed to do and that’s really what helped me to come out on top today,” said Bell who is coached by New Zealand’s throwing great Dame Valerie Adams.
“Once it hit me and I knew I’d won, it was awesome, I was feeling really energetic, really happy.”
Katrina Robinson ran a smart race in the women’s 1500m, watching the moves and keeping out of trouble to claim the bronze medal in a personal best of 4:17.19. It was a tight finish with Robinson managing to move from fourth to third with only 50 metres to go.
The time is a New Zealand under 17 record and equals the under 18 record.
“I got boxed in a little at one point but I was pretty happy with the race and definitely pleased with a medal,” Katrina said.
Finish seventh in the same 1500m race was Hannah O’Connor, running 4:22.82, a huge personal best by over six seconds and a big breakthrough for the Taranaki teen.
In the men’s 1500m Isaiah Priddey ran towards the back of the field in the early stages, moving through over the closing 500m to finish in sixth place, stopping the clock at 3:52.82, just outside his best.
Kayla Goodwin finished fifth in the girls long jump with a best of 5.59m, her competition also affected by the big break during the storm. Goodwin will compete in the 100m hurdles later in the championships.
Shot putter Mellata Tatola placed seventh in her final with a throw of 14.82m, improving throughout the competition. She will contest the discus, along with Tatiana Kaumoana tomorrow.
Sprinter James Guthrie-Croft ran a couple of very good 100m races. Finishing fourth in his heat and recording 11.12 allowed him to progress to the semi-finals where he ran 11.03, the 12th fastest time, just missing the final by 0.12.
The Aucklander will now run in the 200m starting tomorrow.
Also in action on day two of athletics at the games will be Imogen Skelton in the 800m.
New Zealand team details