News & Updates

26 January 2024 • Track and Field

Athletics NZ supports women’s U20 sprint relay squad

Athletics NZ are supporting a women's 4x100m squad in a bid to qualify for the 2024 World Athletics U20 Championships in Lima, Peru. Credit (supplied).

A gifted group of under-20 female sprinters are being supported by Athletics NZ in pursuit of qualifying a 4x100m team for the World Athletics U20 Championships in Lima, Peru in August.

The eight-strong squad, which includes 2022 World U20 Championships 100m sprinter Talia Van Rooyen and talented Palmerston North-based sprinting twins Chayille and Addira Collette – are rich in potential and met as part of their first relay camp in Hastings last week.

Further camps and competitive opportunities are being teed up at the Sir Graeme Douglas International presented by Harcourts Cooper & Co on Sunday 10 March and then at the Sydney Track Classic on Saturday 23 March as the team hopes to bank a World U20 Championship performance standard mark of 45.20.

Co-ordinator of the women’s 4x100m squad Kim Mickle said: “The depth of our under-20 women’s sprinters is very promising, so we have targeted a group to come together in the hope of qualifying a team for Lima. The first camp was an opportunity for the girls to get to know each other and grow collectively ahead of Sir Graeme Douglas and the Sydney Track Classic. The hope is that by creating the camps it can help develop some consistency in terms of the rhythm of the team and the baton exchanges.”

Set up through the sprint event group the squad is coached by five-time national long jump champion and former New Zealand 100m gold medallist Mariah Ririnui.

Squad member Chayille Collette, the New Zealand women’s U18 and U19 record-holder, thoroughly enjoyed the first training camp and has fully embraced the opportunity.

“Being part of a relay camp and to be given the chance to go overseas and represent New Zealand is a great privilege,” said Chayille, the 2023 New Zealand U20 200m champion.  

“We’ve learned about team building and some racing and training skills. We’ve also made a lot of friends. It has been nice to be around the girls outside of the competition environment.”

New Zealand plan to host an Australian squad ahead of the Sir Graeme Douglas International presented by Harcourts Cooper & Co at the Trusts Arena with the Australian’s adopting a reciprocal approach at the Sydney Track Classic. As both nations are chasing the same goal of qualification for the World U20 Championships, the mutual support can help realise their goals.

“The girls are investing a lot of time to arrive early to comps and to attend the camps and we are very excited about what they can potentially achieve,” explains Kim. “We hope to see some of the group to make transitions into the senior relay team and join the likes of Zoe and the other senior girls into one day what would make a very cool open relay team.”

Chayille adds that featuring as part of a relay squad offers a unique experience.

“Being part of a relay team is the only time you come together as a team in what is an individual sport,” she said. “If we were to qualify for the World U20 Championships it would mean a lot.”

The eight-strong women’s U20 4x100m squad comprise the following athletes:

Chayille Collette – 100m PB 11.58 – NZ U20 100m silver and 200m gold

Addira Collette – 100m PB 11.57 – NZ U20 100m gold and 200 silver

Talia Van Rooyen – 100m PB 11.67 – NZ U18 100m and 100m hurdles gold

Marielle Venida – 100m PB 11.73 – NZ U20 100m and 200m bronze

Jorja Gibbons – 100m PB 12.04 – NZ U18 100m silver

Amelie Fairclough 100m PB 12.09 – NZ U20 400m silver

Emilia Goldsmith 100m PB 12.14 – NZ U16 100m gold and 200m silver 

Charlotte Goldsmith 100m PB 12.19 – NZ U18 long jump gold and triple jump silver