News & Updates

5 March 2022 • Track and Field

Bing and Peeters fire on captivating day in Hastings

Portia Bing lowered her national 400m hurdles record for the second time in 13 days today. (Credit: Alisha Lovrich).

In one of the most unforgettable days of the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in recent memory, two New Zealand records were cracked and a series of Athletics NZ performance standards for World Championships and Commonwealth Games were attained on a perfect late summer day in Hastings.

With International Women’s Day looming next Tuesday it was appropriate that New Zealand’s finest women athlete caught the eye led by Portia Bing, who set her second New Zealand record inside two weeks recording a scorching time of 55.44 to take out the women’s 400m hurdles title and Tori Peeters clad an extra 36cm on to her New Zealand javelin record with a gargantuan throw of 62.40m.

Bing, who just 13 days earlier set a New Zealand 400m hurdles record of 55.50 at the Sir Graeme Douglas International in Auckland, chipped a further 0.06 from that mark.

Demonstrating an impressive combination of speed, strength and technical excellence she comfortably banked a fifth successive national 400m hurdles title – 0.04 shy of the Athletics NZ performance standard for the 2022 World Athletics Championships and the the A performance standard for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Behind, Alessandra Macdonald (WBP) secured a second successive senior women’s 400m hurdles title in a time of 1:00.72 with Celine Pearn (Auckland) in bronze in 1:01.21.

“The biggest thing today after running 55.50 (at Sir Graeme Douglas International) was to back it up,” she explains. “Once you get the breakthrough performance it is mentally important to do it again. For me today there was a massive focus on me to stay calm, execute the plan and go through the motions. I’m stoked that I’m actually getting better. I changed the plan slightly today to focus more on running the hurdles more cleanly, and it worked, so I’m very happy.”

Tori Peeters’ fantastic season reached new heights as she fired the 600g javelin out to a stunning New Zealand javelin record of 62.40m into the lush turf at Mitre 10 Park.

The 27-year-old athlete has been in cracking form this season bettering her New Zealand resident record with 60.51m in Wellington last month but working with a new javelin she took the next step by adding 36cm to her national record set in Sydney two years ago and well beyond the Athletics NZ A performance standard mark of 61.50m for the Commonwealth Games.

Peeters, who achieved the mark in round four bagged her sixth senior national title ten years after claiming her maiden national title.

She said: “It is a nice to be able to put together a good throw at the meets that count a lot of points. I’ve also tapered into this competition, so it is nice when you can put it altogether on the day. I still didn’t get some things right on the runway, which is a more a rhythmical thing and I know once I get that right I’ll be able to get into my javelin a bit more. Apart from that I’m just rapt to throw 62m again.”

Tom Walsh unleashed his best performance of the domestic season to fell old rival Jacko Gill and land his 13th successive national senior men’s shot put title with a season’s best of 21.55m.

Gill, who is still chasing his elusive first national senior title, powered the shot out to 21.21m in round one but after his third attempt he sat out the remainder of the competition nursing a hamstring injury.

“It was getting closer to what I want and getting that freedom that I’ve talked about and it was definitely a step up,” said Walsh. “It was not what I wanted but definitely a step in the right direction.

Hastings was proved fertile ground for Zoe Hobbs this season having posted two national records here over the past six weeks and today she secured the national title here courtesy of a scintillating mark of 11.07 (2.7m/s).

Zoe Hobbs banked her sixth successive national title from Rosie Elliott (Canterbury) in 11.34 in silver with Livvy Wilson (Auckland) rounding out the podium with her third national bronze medal in 11.54.

It was only the wind-speed at Mitre 10 Park which denied Hobbs an incredible third national 100m record at the venue this year but she was nonetheless delighted with her race execution and performance.

“I’m just stoked to run 11.07 whatever the wind is,” says Hobbs. “Obviously, it is gutting when it is not legal, but it showed me that it is there. I was a ball of nerves today because it is the nationals and for me it was about relaxing and remembering to enjoying these competitions and being patient through those transitions and not rushing anything.

“It is a pretty cool feeling (to win national 100m title number six) a lot of credit goes to the U18 and U20 athletes running hard and for Talia van Rooyen (aged 15) to run 11.50 is incredible. It is really cool to see them stepping up.”

In a repeat of their dramatic showdown at the 2021 Sir Graeme Douglas International Tiaan Whelpton once again pulled up with a hamstring issue which allowed Eddie Osei-Nketia to pounce and win his third national senior men’s 100m title in 10.20 (2.8m/s).

Following the recent easing of the border restrictions in New Zealand, Osei-Nketia returned home from his base in Australia to set up this lip-smacking head-to-head battle between the two New Zealand sprint stars.

Whelpton – the marginally faster of the two men this season – made a quick start but with nothing separating the pair at 80m the Canterbury athlete dramatically slowed clutching his right hamstring to ease down across the line in sixth in 10.74. As Osei-Nketia let out a big grin as he crossed the line, Cody Wilson matched the silver medal he won last year at nationals in a time of 10.51 with Jordan Bolland taking his second national 100m bronze a tenth further back.

“It feels good (to win the national title), but I’m not going to lie,” he adds. “I’m waiting for Tiaan to be 100 per cent in order for us both to be at our best. That’s what you want in competition, the two of us battling together.”

Whelpton added: “I was really stoked with my start and it looked like I was tracking really well. I was holding good speed and running well. It was hard to tell where I was in relation to Eddie, I’d need to check up on the livestream, when I felt my hamstring cramp up, so I slowed up rather than risk anything.”

Lauren Bruce unashamedly shed tears of joy after finally landing her maiden national title in the senior women’s hammer with a season’s best of 73.34m.

The Oceania hammer record-holder, who has won no less than 15 national senior silver and bronze medals over the past eight years in the hammer, discus and shot, climbed to the top of the podium despite faced enormous pressure from Nicole Bradley, who logged two PB’s in the best competition of her life.

Bradley added 3cm to her lifetime best in round one with a 70.10m effort and it took until round four for Bruce to assert control of the competition with a 70.67m hurl. Bradley improved with a 70.45m effort in the final round only for Bruce to real find her groove with a 73.34m mark in round six.

“It was the furthest I’ve thrown this season and the aim was to come out and win nationals and do it the right way and we did both of those things in the process which was incredible in one go.

“It was a bit nervous watching Nicole’s last throw knowing she was capable of throwing further but when she did it was quite emotional. I had my coach Dale (Stevenson) here and my childhood coach Ian (Baird) here and I think that’s one of the first times I’ve seen him cry.”

Returning to the venue where she set a PB of 4.60m in January, Olivia McTaggart took her pole vaulting to the next level with a 4.65m clearance cementing her rising status and current rich vein of to regain the senior national title she last won in 2019.

Olivia continues to make exciting improvements this season and finished a full 40cm clear of her training partner Imogen Ayris, who took silver.

Local favourite Holly Manning (Hawkes Bay Gisborne) reaffirmed her outstanding shape this season by claiming her maiden national senior 800m title and doing so with a PB of 2:03.76

Manning took control at the bell quickly kicking clear of the field with Jennifer Hauke the nearest athlete in pursuit. For the remainder of the race she tightened her grip on the race to further extend her advantage and hacked more than half-a-second from her previous best. The fast-finishing Katherine Camp, the champion for the previous three years, finished strongly to claim silver in 2:05.68 from Hauke (2:05.95).

James Preston produced a flawless demonstration of two-lap running to destroy the 800m field and comfortably retain his national senior men’s 800m title in a swift 1:47.00.

The Wellington-based athlete has been in great nick this season and served further notice of this by registering the second fastest time of his career en route to a decisive win.

Behind, teenager James Harding finished strongly to grab silver in 1:49.22 from fellow Aucklander Dominic Devlin (1:50.65) who banked a third successive national senior 800m podium finish.  

“The main goal was to run through the first 600m pretty hard and I was aiming for a 51-second run through 400m pretty hard and a high 1:19 through (600m). We thought we could run a 1:46 or 1:47-mids, so no complaints with that run. It sets me up well for next weekend.

“It is nice to win but I want to be racing Brad (Mathas) and hopefully next year we can have him back over and we can have the big showdown,” adds James who is heading over to Australia next week to run in the Sydney Track Classic.

Keeley O’Hagan enjoyed the competition of her life to set a PB of 1.88m and also attain a Commonwealth Games B Athletics NZ Performance standard mark in a rip-roaring battle with Imogen Skelton (Auckland)

O’Hagan, maintained her unbeaten record for the season, but was required to dig deeper than ever as a result of a 5cm improvement from Skelton, who cleared a best for the day of 1.86m.

It was some breakthrough performance from the duo it what was the best women’s high jump competition in New Zealand for some time. For the 27-year-old Cantabrian it was a third senior national title and a performance which elevates her to joint sixth on the all-time New Zealand lists alongside 1990 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Tracy Phillips.

O’Hagan said: “We’ve known that it is there, its been a work in progress and I am so happy absolutely stoked. I’m so stoked for Imogen who jumped a 5cm PB today. We haven’t seen that level of competition for a while at nationals, it is absolutely amazing.”

Rosie Elliott capped a memorable day by taking out a barnstorming senior women’s 400m title just 60 minutes after winning 100m silver medal. Rocking and rolling leading into the home straight, Elliott, who was only competing in her fifth ever 400m, produced victory courtesy of a powerful late surge to overhaul Isabel Neal (Auckland) and claim the gold medal. Both athletes earned personal  best times with Elliott’s mark of 52.59 elevating her to fourth on the all-time New Zealand lists. Neal hacked more than half-a-second from her PB with a slick 52.79 to climb to number eight all-time in New Zealand. Defending champion Camryn Smart took bronze in 54.09.

John Gerber (Otago) set the best part of half-a-second from his personal best to take out the senior men’s 400m title in 48.18 to finish 0.11 clear of 2020 400m gold medallist Luke Mercieca (Canterbury).

If we needed any reminding, Hayden Wilde (WBP) revealed his outrageous endurance ability by powering to a hat-trick of senior men’s national 5000m titles in a time of 13:46.41 With metronomic precision he simply ran the legs of the opposition with New Zealand 1500m, mile and 3000m champion Julian Oakley (WBP) having to settle for silver on this occasion in 14:03.31.

Laura Nagel (Auckland) completed the first half of a potential 1500m/5000m national double by cruising to victory in the 12-and-a-half lap race to regain the title she last won in 2017. Raised in the Hawke’s Bay she stopped the clock in 16:33.77 to finish clear of another local athlete Eva Goodisson (HBG) in 16:39.12.

Mariah Ririnui narrowly edged a thrilling senior women’s long jump by edging her great friend and rival Kelsey Berryman by 1cm in a dramatic finale. Berryman produced a 6.06m leap with her final jump only for Ririnui to respond with a 6.07m effort with the final jump of the competition and seal her fourth senior national long jump crown.

Felix McDonald (Otago) edged a quality men’s long jump to win with a best of 7.56m (1.2m/s) by 5cm from Lewis Arthur (Auckland), whose leap was aided by a 3.0 m/s wind.

New Zealand record-holder Hamish Kerr (Canterbury) claimed a seventh national high jump title with a best of 2.15m but was short of his best today.

Anthony Nobilo (Auckland) claimed a fourth successive national title senior men’s hammer title in style by thundering the 7.26kg hammer out to 66.71m – a PB by 13cm – to maintain his excellent start to the season.

Scott Thomson (Auckland) successfully retained the senior men’s triple jump title with a season’s best performance of 14.32m.

Jonathan Maples (Manawatu Whanganui) finished narrowly outside of his PB, recording 55.88 to land the men’s senior 400m hurdles title and upgrade on the bronze medal he won in the 2021 edition.

In the decathlon 2019 World University Games champion Aaron Booth enjoyed an encouraging first day with a cumulative five-event total of 3948pts comfortably ahead of Auckland duo Ethan Phillips (3212pts) and Matthew Wyatt (3196pts).

Courtney Ruske completed the 3000m and 10,000m race walk double here in Hastings with a patient performance in the latter event. Happy to sit behind Laura Langley (HBG) for much of the race before making her winning move the Canterbury athlete clocked 52:01.69 to successfully defend the crown she won in Hastings last March. Langley secured silver in 52:18.47.

Antonia Martin set a PB of 1:00:40.35 to claim the national women’s U20 10,000m race walk title while her fellow Aucklander Alana Mathews banked the women’s U18 5000m race walk title in 29:43.56.

Jonah Cropp (Canterbury) set a PB of 23:27.83 to win the men’s U18 5000m race walk title.

A host of national Para record were set in the 100m led by Mitch Joynt in the men’s T64 classification with a best of 11.86. Teenager Jaxon Woolley impressed to run a New Zealand record mark of 12.42 clocking in the T38 event and in the women’s event Anna Grimaldi scalped 0.19 from her national record in the women’s T47 100m. Also in the New Zealand record-breaking mood over the 100m distance were Sarah James T53 in 20.87 and Montana Brown T34 in a time of 23.07. Sionnan Murphy posted a national discus F37 record of 21.38m.

For full results go here