News & Updates

13 January 2021 • Track and Field

Bumper track and field season gets underway

Tom Walsh wins the shot put at the NZ Track and Field Championships. 8 March 2019. Christchurch, New Zealand. Copyright photo: Alisha Lovrich /

Tom Walsh is one of many well-known athletes who will be regularly seen in action this summer (Photo: Alisha Lovrich)

Athletics fans are in for a bumper domestic track and field season this summer with a raft of household names all in action on home soil and looking to peak for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In addition to numerous regional events and National Permit Meets, an action-packed summer schedule will be highlighted by a series of competitions granted Continental Tour and Area Permit Meet status, which include several of the iconic ‘Classic’ series.

The Continental Tour and Area Permit Meets are the main pathways to qualification for major world events and, in 2021, that means the big one – the rescheduled Olympic Games. The qualifying period for Tokyo reopened on 1 December, meaning Kiwi athletes will get the chance to get some results on the board and climb the rankings before many of their rivals in other parts of the world.

The new year action kicked off last weekend in Timaru with the Lovelock Classic, which was a National Permit Meet, while a string of Area Permit Meets are now in store in the form of the Potts Classic, Cooks Classic, Porritt Classic and Capital Classic.

February’s International Track Meet in Christchurch and the Sir Graeme Douglas International in Auckland both hold bronze status on the Continental Tour while an exciting summer wraps up with the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships in the first week of March in the Hawke’s Bay.

The Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships is the highlight of the summer calendar and holds the most weight in terms of world rankings points as it is classed in the same category as a silver Continental Tour meeting by World Athletics.

To be nominated for Olympic Games qualification, New Zealand athletes must either meet the automatic qualifying standard or accumulate a sufficient amount of points to be ranked highly enough on the world rankings. Once they have done so, they will then be nominated by Athletics NZ to the New Zealand Olympic Committee, who will determine the final selections for Tokyo.

Eight Kiwi athletes have already met the qualifying standard for Tokyo with hammer thrower Lauren Bruce recently joining Tom Walsh, Jacko Gill, Dame Valerie Adams (all shot put), Zane Robertson, Malcolm Hicks (both marathon), Camille Buscomb (10,000m) and Quentin Rew (race walk).

“The New Zealand domestic season will be somewhat unusual,” says Scott Newman, Interim High Performance Director for Athletics NZ.

“We have the majority of our leading athletes all back in New Zealand for the summer and, given the lack of competition opportunities in 2020, it is the first chance for them to have a real crack at Olympic qualifying or, for our very best, consolidate towards Tokyo,” he adds.

“While we won’t have as many overseas athletes in New Zealand this summer, all of our best athletes are committed to being at all the key domestic meets and, in the middle distance events in particular, we will have depth of fields that we have not seen in this country for many years. We’re expecting some early quality performances from athletes with Olympic aspirations.

“With the Olympic qualifying period re-opening on 1 December, our athletes have a great opportunity to earn early ranking points ahead of Europe and the Americas. Performing well in the New Zealand domestic season will be critical for any athlete who is wishing to get to Tokyo as the ability to travel and compete will very likely remain difficult and impractical in the first half of 2021 at least.”

Athletics NZ Summer Series

Potts Classic (Area Permit Meet), includes New Zealand Senior 3000m Championships
23 January
Mitre 10 Park Hawke’s Bay, Hastings

Cooks Classic (Area Permit Meet), includes New Zealand U-20 3000m Championships and New Zealand Mile Championships
30 January
Cooks Gardens, Wanganui

International Track Meet (Bronze, Continental Tour)
6 February
Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub, Christchurch

New Zealand Combined Events Championships
6-7 February
Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub, Christchurch

Porritt Classic (Area Permit Meet)
13 February
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton

Capital Classic (Area Permit Meet)
20 February
Newtown Athletics Stadium, Wellington

Sir Graeme Douglas International (Bronze, Continental Tour)
27 February
Douglas Track and Field, Auckland

Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships (same ranking as Silver, Continental Tour)
5-7 March
Mitre 10 Park Hawke’s Bay, Hastings

For more information on the permit meetings in New Zealand please click here

For more information on the world rankings and the categories of competitions please click here