News & Updates

21 June 2024 • High Performance

Five further athletes added to World U20 team

Five additional athletes were today added to the New Zealand team for the 2024 World U20 Championships in Lima, Peru (27-31) to bolster the total team size to 17 – the joint largest in the 38-year history of the biennial championships.

In April an initial team of 12 athletes was announced and following the additional five names – the team will match the size of the New Zealand team which competed at the 2016 World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

To underline the rising depth in athletics in Aotearoa all 17 athletes set to compete in the Peruvian capital are in individual events while the New Zealand team which competed at the 2016 edition included two relay teams.

On what has already been a vintage year for New Zealand middle-distances running, Auckland duo James Ford (1:49.08) and Thomas Cowan (1:49.14) have won selection in the men’s 800m. Cowan and Ford impressed during some titanic tussles over the two-lap distance during the 2023-24 domestic season with the former defeating the latter to gold in the U20 800m final at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Wellington.

Marielle Venida competes in the women’s 100m and 200m after clipping her ticket for Lima by cracking the Athletics NZ Performance Standard for both events in May. The 18-year-old Aucklander and national U20 100m champion ran PB’s of 11.65 for the 100m and 23.96 for the 200m at the Philippines Championships to earn her slot on the team.

With extenuating circumstances being taken into consideration and after both achieved World Athletics Performance Standards in their respective events, both Talia van Rooyen and Kiera Hall have been selected for their second World U20 Championships.

Van Rooyen, who competed in the 100m at the 2022 World U20 Championships, has earned her spot on the plane for Lima in the 100m hurdles, the 18-year-old Aucklander setting a PB of 14.03 in Potchefstroom in May.

Christchurch-raised Hall, who was selected for the 800m at the 2022 World U20 Championships but did not compete in Cali, Colombia, ran a 1500m PB of 4:26.22 at

Villanova in the US last month. Currently based in the US, the 19-year-old competes for Providence College, Rhode Island.

Athletics NZ High Performance Athlete Development Leader Tim Driesen said: “We welcome the addition of five further athletes to the New Zealand team for Lima. Having a team with the most individually qualified athletes for the World U20 Championships speaks volumes for the strength in depth among our developing athletes and supplements the success our senior elite athletes are currently enjoying.”

***Alex Martin, who hails from Wellington and is currently studying at McNeese State University in the US, achieved an Athletics NZ Performance Standard time for the 800m, but has been named as reserve behind James Ford and Thomas Cowan who have both secured selection in this event. Chayille Collette has achieved a World Athletics Performance Standard with Extenuating Circumstances being taken into consideration, but is ranked behind the two other New Zealand athletes in the women’s 100m and is named as a reserve.

NZ team selected for the 2024 World Athletics World U20 Championships in Lima, Peru


100m – Addira Collette (Palmerston North AC)

100m/200m – Marielle Venida (Pakaranga AC)

400m/400m hurdles – Madeleine Waddell (Hamilton City Hawks)

800m – Boh Ritchie (Hamilton City Hawks)

1500m – Kiera Hall (Port Hills AC)

3000m steeplechase – Catherine Lund (Ariki Athletic and Harrier Club)

100m Hurdles – Talia van Rooyen (North Harbour Bays)

High Jump – Naomi Waite (Wellington Harriers)

Discus – Suzie Kennelly (Papatoetoe AC)


800m: James Ford (Takapuna AA & Harrier)

800m: Thomas Cowan (North Harbour Bays)

1500m – Jamie Mora (Whippets Running Project)

1500m -James McLeay (St Pauls Harrier & AAC)

Triple Jump – Ethan Olivier (Pakuranga AC)

Shot – Blessing Sefo (Waitakere City AC)

Javelin – Douw Botes (Papakura Athletic and Harrier Club)

10km Race Walk – Jonah Cropp (Sumner Running Club)



100m – Chayille Collette (Palmerston North AC)


800m – Alex Martin (Wellington Scottish)

1500m – Cooper Wightman (Selwyn AC), George Wyllie (Athletics Tauranga) and Callum Murray (Athletics Tauranga)