News & Updates

8 March 2019 • General

Chilly and wet conditions at Ngā Puna Wai for Day 1 of the Track & Field Champs

Portia Bing defied the dire conditions to retain her 400m hurdles title with an assured display on the opening day of the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Christchurch.

The chilly and wet conditions at Ngā Puna Wai ruled out Bing having a realistic crack at the World Championship qualification mark of 56.00, but the 25-year-old Aucklander still had more than enough to be crowned national champion.

Bing, who last month posted a national record of 56.04, stopped the clock in 59.63 to strike gold ahead of Canterbury’s former champion Mackenzie Keenan (1:00.35) with Celine Pearn (Auckland) rounding out the podium in 1:05.04.

“Conditions were what they were,” says Bing. “Sometimes you compete with different goals and today was all about winning a national title.

“I’m coming off a big high with three PBs and a national record and I’m very appreciative of these times.”

Bing believes her rich vein of form is down to her coaching combination of Russ Hoggard and James Mortimer.

“They’re the old and new generation, I’ve got that happy medium and they work perfectly for me,” she adds.

Bing returns to action tomorrow in the senior women’s 200m – a title she has won on two previous occasions.

Her next planned 400m hurdles is at the Sir Graeme Douglas International Track Challenge in Auckland on March 21 before she heads over the Tasman to compete at the Australian Championships.

Kayla Goodwin defied the bleak conditions to strike double as the gifted teenager enjoyed a record-breaking opening day in Christchurch.

Goodwin started her unforgettable day by bounding out to national U18 and U19 records with a leap of 12.74m to strike gold in in the women’s U20 triple jump.

Then the 17-year-old backed that up to earn a surprise victory in the women’s senior long jump competition.

Goodwin, who last month secured the national heptathlon title, elevated herself to gold courtesy of a sixth round jump and personal best of 5.86m to relegate Australia’s long-time leader Corrina Minko (5.82m) to second.

The minor medallists were Taranaki’s Ashleigh Bennett (5.82m) ahead of the 2018 champion Kelsey Berryman (5.66m), who earned bronze.

“I’m quite amazed,” explains Goodwin of her double gold success. “You always hope that you can do PBs and I couldn’t ask for a better way to do – at national champs.

“I thought I didn’t have enough warm clothes for the day, so I just wanted to get out there and see what I could do. In the long jump I knew I had a big one in me; I just had to show I could do it.”

Goodwin’s busy schedule continues tomorrow as she competes in the U20 long jump and 100m hurdles.

Teenage sprint sensation Edward Osei-Nketia, who earlier this year blitzed to a national junior record of 10.30 to catapult himself to number four on the all-time NZ senior lists, cruised into the senior men’s 100m final as the fastest qualifier.

Denied the opportunity to take on five-time national 100m champion Joseph Millar, who was a disappointing late withdrawal from both the 100m and 200m after feeling unwell, Osei-Nketia brushed aside the appalling conditions to take out heat two in 10.74 – 0.21 clear of Ethan Holman (Waikato BoP).

In the opening heat, Jordan Bolland (Auckland) laid down a clear statement as to his medal-winning potential by powering to victory in 10.81 – 0.19 clear of runner-up Jake Paul.

The final takes place later today at 7.30pm.

Pre-event favourite and defending senior women’s 100m champion Zoe Hobbs remains on track to claim back-to-back victories after easing through heat one in a winning time of 12.05.

The Auckland-based athlete, who this season has made significant progress to advance to number two on the New Zealand all-time lists with 11.37, was in cruise control, finishing 0.18 clear of Symone Tafunai, who also advances.

Taranaki’s Olivia Eaton, the 2018 silver medallist, led the qualifiers in an impressive 11.86 to finish 0.17 clear of Abby Goldie (Waikato BoP) in heat two.

In a competitive third heat, Brooke Somerfield (Waikato BoP) powered home to clinch the race win in 11.95 – 0.09 clear of the Livvy Wilson, the bronze medallist from last year.

The senior women’s 100m final – one of the marquee events on the programme – is scheduled for 7.20pm.

Oliver Miller (55.03) comfortably defeated his fellow Aucklander Justin Menezes (1:00.99) to strike gold in the senior men’s 400m hurdles final.

Meanwhile, Brad Mathas is on track to secure an eighth successive senior men’s 800m title after qualifying into tomorrow’s final via heat one. The 2018 Commonwealth Games 800m finalist placed second in 1.53.66 – some 0.62 behind heat winner Sam Petty his fellow Cantabrian.

In heat two, James Preston (Wellington) ran a controlled race to secure top spot in 1:56.35 ahead of Auckland’s Dominic Devlin (1:56.76).

The next session will resume at 5pm highlighted by the men’s senior shot final and men’s and women’s senior 100m finals.

Selection of photos available here (photo credit: Alisha Lovrich). Additional photos available on request.