News & Updates

10 March 2024 • Track and Field

Aitchison, Olivier and Revell-Lewis excel at Sir Graeme Douglas International presented by Harcourts Cooper & Co

Lex Revell-Lewis took more than a second from his lifetime best and came within 0.03 of the national 400m record with a stunning performance. Credit: (Alisha Lovrich).

A dazzling performance from Para sprinter Danielle Aitchison, a New Zealand resident record in the men’s triple jump by rising star Ethan Olivier and a massive breakout 400m by Lex Revell-Lewis highlighted a memorable tenth edition of the Sir Graeme Douglas International presented by Harcourts Cooper & Co today.

A large contingent of international names helped bring about eight meet records as the athletes basked in near perfect conditions at Douglas Track & Field, Trusts Arena in Auckland.

Danielle Aitchison blasted to within 0.02 of the world record and set a national record in the women’s Para 100m T36 clocking a blistering time of 13.63 (99.85%). The 22-year-old Hamilton-based sprinter has been knocking on the door of a world record all season, posting her previous national record of 13.65 in her home city last month and was in imperious form again today.

Aided by a 1.8m/s wind, she came even closing to lowering the mark of Yiteng Shi of China (of 13.61) producing a beautifully rhythmic piece of sprinting excellence. Tokyo Paralympian Anna Steven (T64) was second in 14.20 (89.15%) with Paddy Walsh (T64) third in 14.89 (85.02%).

Aitchison said: “I haven’t been feeling great today, so I just wanted to stay relaxed. I tried not to force it and hold the form, so to get that time is incredible. It has been such a great season I don’t even know what my PB is now because it seems to change every week!”

She will next compete over 100m and 200m at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Wellington next week before moving on to compete at the Australian Championships in April.

Ethan Olivier added 11cm to the New Zealand resident record set by his elder brother, Welre, at the ITM in Christchurch two weeks earlier to soar out to 16.44m (-0.6) to win the men’s triple jump.

Ethan, 18, the New Zealand record-holder with his 16.67m set in Brussels last year, stitched together an outstanding series comprising the five best leaps of the competition. His winning distance in round two buttressed by 16.30m (0.4) in round one and 16.38m (0.4), 16.33m (-0.5) and 16.33m (-0.1) in rounds four to six completed a comprehensive win from Australian champion Aiden Hinson (16.28m). Welre Olivier grabbed third with a best of 16.26m (-0.1).

“I feel pretty good, I didn’t jump that well today but I’m happy I won and I have the (resident) record now,” said Ethan who also set a meet record. “I think I’ll do better in Wellington the air is drier there and more humid here, so that is in my favour (in Wellington), so I think I’ll be fine there.”

A men’s 400m dripping with international class inspired Kiwi Lex Revell-Lewis to a huge new PB of 46.12 – within just 0.03 of the 26-year-old national record of Shaun Farrell – to place third with a stunning display.

Running on his home track, the 20-year-old Waitakere athlete scalped 1.22 seconds from his previous 400m best as he finished strongly to cross the line third behind France’s Teo Andant who set a meet record of 45.59 ahead of Australia’s World University Games silver medallist Reece Holder (46.01).

It was an outstanding performance from Revell-Lewis, who has set big PB’s over 100m (10.52) and 200m (21.04) this season, to further underline his huge improvement under the coaching of Nuree Greenhalgh.

Revell-Lewis, who moved to number three on the all-time New Zealand lists behind Farrell and Bevan Smith, said “That was one of the hardest races I’ve ever ran. That last 100m I felt great, and I can’t believe how much I set a PB by. It was crazy. In the last couple of weeks I’ve dropped my 100m and 200m times, so in some ways it is insane that I’ve PBed by so much, but in other ways it is not.

“The goal at nationals is to win the 400m and the next day back it up with the 200m with the longer term goal the Oceania Championships later in the year.”

The women’s 400m also provided fireworks as Australian Ellie Beer blitzed to a lifetime best and meet record of 51.77 ahead of New Zealand’s Portia Bing, the national 400m hurdles record-holder, who also had the satisfaction of wiping 0.37 from her PB to record 52.41 in second.

Bing, who catapulted to number five on the all-time New Zealand lists, said: “It was great to race with Ellie Beer, an Olympic level 400m runner, she really pushed the limits which is what I’ve been looking for. There was a few tactical things I tried. I knew I have good flat speed at the moment, so that played to my advantage over the past 150m. She (Beer) has a lot more experience than me over the 400m because she went a lot harder than I did.”

Two high-quality javelin throws did not disappoint as Ryohei Arai, a Rio Olympian, hurled the spear out to a huge meet record of 83.37m as Japan completed a clean sweep of the podium from Rin Suzuki (78.50m) and Kenji Ogura (75.66m).

In the women’s equivalent, Yuka Sato of Japan was also in meet record-breaking mood, powering out the javelin to 59.23m to finish ahead of New Zealand record-holder Tori Peeters (58.19m) who had to settle for second. Sae Takemoto, the 2022 World Championship finalist of Japan, completed the podium picture in third with a best effort of 57.40m.

The men’s long jump was split across two quality pools and drawing on his vast experience former World Indoor and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Henry Frayne of Australia competing in pool A took overall victory with a best of 7.97m (2.2). Japanese duo Daiki Oda (7.92m) and Natsuki Yamakawa (7.84m) finished second and third.

New Zealand women dominated the middle-distance races with national mile champion Rebekah Aitkenhead securing her third fastest ever time the 1500m to complete a dominant win in the metric mile, clocking 4:12.50. Kiwi Brigid Dennehy placed second in 4:14.03 – taking more than three seconds from her PB – with national 1500m champion Laura Nagel (4:15.22) in third.   

“I was hoping to get under that 4:10 and thought I was going to work together with Laura (Nagel) but she was not quite feeling her best today.

“The season has gone well, although I expected a bit more out of myself. I’m just letting it come and waiting for the right race. I’ve had lot of learnings this season but approaching nationals I’m probably in the best shape ever.”

New Zealand champion Alison Andrews-Paul was all class as she dominated the women’s 800m to take victory in 2:03.82 by a near five-second margin from fellow Kiwi Stella Pearless (2:08.76).

The Canadian-based Andrews-Paul is clearly in great shape leading into nationals as evinced by her solo effort today – the fourth fastest 800m time of her career – and she is moving on to Wellington next week a clear favourite to successfully defend her national crown.

Kentaro Usuda (1:51.55) of Japan took out the men’s 800m from 2022 World U20 representative Luke Hitchcock (1:51.86) for New Zealand.

Ryoji Tatezawa of Japan claimed a meet record of 3:38.29 – 0.54 ahead of Abraham Guem of South Sudan in the men’s 1500m. In fourth and fifth there was noteworthy PB’s from Kiwi duo Russell Green (3:41.77) and David Lee (3:42.13).  Meanwhile, James McLeay (3:46.27) in ninth and Callum Murray (3:47.65) in 11th both dipped under the World U20 performance standard.

Takayuki Kishimoto set a meet record of 50.47 to win the men’s 400m hurdles – 0.18 ahead of his countryman Hiroya Kawagoe. While in the women’s equivalent Isabelle Guthrie of Australia shaded the women’s 400m hurdles in 58.15 – 0.43 from Loan Ville of France, the winner of last year’s edition. There was a huge performance from 16-year-old Kiwi Madeleine Waddell (1:00.55) – who came within 0.05 of the performance standard for the World U20 Championships.  

Australia swept the podium in the women’s 100m with Bree Masters clinching a decisive victory in the women’s 100m in 11.36 (1.1) from Chelsea Scolyer (11.53). Olivia Dodds (11.53) was awarded third ahead of Rosie Elliott, the lead Kiwi in fourth (11.72).

Japan snared all three podium positions in the men’s 100m with Taju Hongo of Japan completing his second victory at a World Athletics Continental Bronze meet victory following his success at ITM two weeks ago, flashing across the line 0.08 ahead of Ryota Suzuki in 10.36 (0.6)

Nick Southgate added 2cm to his meet record with a handy 5.32m clearance to secure top spot in the men’s pole vault from Shingo Sawa of Japan (5.22m). Commonwealth bronze medallist Imogen Ayris claimed a narrow victory on countback in the women’s pole vault from Japanese champion Misaki Morota after both cleared 4.25m.

Nick Palmer after recovering from a recent bout of Covid impressed to win the men’s shot with 19.78m – the second best performance of his career. Grace Tennant of Canada (16.66m) repelled the challenge of Kiwi Kaia Tupu-South (16.48m) to clinch top prize in the women’s shot.

Holly Robinson (F46) with a best of 11.71m (93.91%) edged the women’s Para shot from World and Paralympic shot put champion Lisa Adams (F37), who opened her 2024 campaign with a 14.55m (93.87%) toss.

The 2023 World Para 100m T37 finalist Joe Smith executed a fine race to claim victory in the men’s 100m Para event, stopping the clock in 12.17 (89.98%) – just 0.09 shy of his lifetime best.

World Para 400m and long jump T36 silver medallist Will Stedman enjoyed a good day at Douglas Track & Field, registering 54.09 (95.60%) for fifth in heat two of the men’s 400m – just over half a second shy of his national record. He also registered a long jump best of 5.42m (1.6).

Results go here