News & Updates

19 January 2021 • Track and Field

Fields overflowing for Jumps to Music

The eighth edition of the popular Jumps to Music competition in Taranaki is set to be the biggest yet with entries overflowing.

For the first ever time, meet organisers Ashleigh Bennett and coach Ed Fern have had to close entries for the event, which is held in the town of Hawera.

“This is an amazing response from my fellow jumpers,” says Bennett, who is also competing herself.

“The women’s high jump is virtually the national championships podium contenders with Keely O’Hagan, Josephine Reeves and Josie Taylor all having jumped over 1.80 this year. Add into the mix Imogen Skelton, Alex Hyland and Maddie Wilson, who have all been higher than 1.75, and it’s easy to see that things will be jumping in Hawera. We are so excited for the evening to kick off.”

This year, Jumps to Music will include men’s and women’s events in both the high jump and long jump.

National record holder Hamish Kerr (2.30) and national champion Josephine Reeves (1.86) will be defending their titles in the high jump while meeting organiser Ashleigh Bennett (6.04) and former national champion Matthew Wyatt (7.67) will defend their Jumps to Music titles in the long jump. Challenges are likely to come respectively from Briana Stephenson (6.08) and Argentinian Nicolas Moratalla (7.33).

High jump competitor Marcus Wolton has taken part in almost every edition of Jumps to Music and his fondness for the event is as strong as ever.

“JTM is one of the best competitions in the North Island for spectators and athletes,” he says.

“Nowhere else can spectators view a competition and engage with athletes so closely.”

Jumps to Music competitions started with the high jump in the old East Germany in the late 1970s but were quickly picked up elsewhere. They are hugely popular in Europe with shot put, long jump, pole vault, triple jump and other events all being competed to music.

Each athlete usually picks a song or two they would like to jump to and that music is played when it is their turn to compete.

Athletics Hawera brought the concept to the region in 2014 and it has become a must-do on the competition programme of many of New Zealand’s top jumpers. In recent years, there has been a theme for the music with last year’s them being Back to the 80s, in which all songs had to be from the 1980s.

The athletes really got into the spirit of the theme by raiding their parents’ cupboards and digging out a range of fluro outfits.

The theme this year is Movie Madness with the likes of Shrek, High School Musical and Grease all likely to be getting plenty of airplay.

There are also side competitions for who has the best music and the best outfit on the night.

Jumps to Music
Hicks Park, Hawera

Wednesday 27 January
5pm, high jump followed by long jump
Admission is free but a collection will be made to assist Hawera’s Senior Athletes to attend the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships in March