News & Updates

5 August 2022 • Track and Field

Four Kiwis advance to finals in busy session

(Photo: Alisha Lovrich)

Two of the three Kiwis in qualification action in the women’s hammer successfully navigated a route to the final as defending champion Julia Ratcliffe and Nicole Bradley both advanced but there was disappointment for Lauren Bruce who was unfortunately eliminated after not registering a mark.

Julia, who is bidding for a third successive Commonwealth medal having won silver at the Glasgow Games in 2014 and gold in Gold Coast four years ago, opened with a handy 66.91m in pursuit of the automatic qualification mark of 68.00m.

The 29-year-old, who hails from Hamilton, then responded to the challenge in round two, firing the hammer out to 68.73m to bank the second best qualification mark behind Canada’s World Championship silver medallist Camryn Rogers who uncorked a mighty hurl of 74.68m to set a Games record.

For the experienced New Zealander, a comfortable qualification for the final on Sunday was a huge boost after last month missing out on a spot in the final at the World Championships in Eugene.

“At the World Championships I was in really good physical shape, but mentally I had the wrong approach, so it was time to go out and correct that – and I felt I did that today. I’m really proud.

“I’m really gutted not to have Lauren in the final too. I know she’ll be really disappointed. We’ve had a long tour full of lots of up and downs, a big rollercoaster, so for three of us to be competing out there in the Black Singlet is cool.

On the final she added: “I’m keen to go out there and throw as far as a I can, I can’t control what anyone else does. Camryn Rogers (the Canadian) broke a Games record (of 74.68m) in qualification and she’s got everyone looking at her nobody is going to be looking at me. I’m looking forward to having some fun out there and throwing as far as I can.”

Nicole Bradley, who has a PB of 70.45m, was not quite at her best today but after opening with a 59.75m in the first round she gradually improved, hurling the hammer out to 61.69m in round two before adding a further 8cm on that mark with her final effort.

The 30-year-old Auckland-based athlete, who qualified eighth best, said: “I was a little bit nervous and excited, and although I didn’t do what I knew I was capable of I got the job done.

“I got a hammer in, it went far enough so it is now about recovery good eating and sleeping, getting ready for the final and having some fun. The atmosphere is unreal. It was nice to have a qualifier with a bigger crowd because at the World Championships we didn’t have that.”

Unfortunately, Oceania record-holder Lauren Bruce had an off day and failed to register a valid effort. After a first round foul she flung the hammer into the net with her second effort and facing intense pressure with her third and final throw the hammer landed outside the sector. 

Sam Tanner produced an impressive turn of pace to qualify for the men’s 1500m final on Sunday after surviving a physical race to bank the fifth and final automatic spot in heat two.

Competing in the much slower of the two heats – the 800m split was a pedestrian 2:08 – it was always likely that the New Zealand 1500m champion would need an automatic top five place rather than qualify on time as a back up.

On several occasions Sam became boxed in and down the back straight on the penultimate lap he tripped and momentarily stumbled before thankfully retaining his balance to stay upright.

However, despite the scare the Kiwi retained his composure and down the home straight unleashed his trademark kick finish to nab the fifth and final spot in 3:48.65. The heat was snared by Scotland’s world 1500m champion Jake Wightman who ran 3:48.34 for the heat win. 

“I knew what I was doing, and I had enough in the tank so that I could go (with the pace), said Sam. “I was looking around counting (the number of athletes) thinking I am good to qualify.

“A couple of times I had to bob and weave and get through athlete, so it’s lucky I’m skinny! I was fun.”

“For the final it is refresh and get the body to run as fast as I need to run – whether that be 3:40 or 3:30. I’ve got to be mentally prepared to run any sort of race.”

There was also joy for Keeley O’Hagan who comfortably snagged a spot in the women’s high jump final in a routine qualification session. The 28-year-old Kiwi, who at the New Zealand Championships in March set a lifetime best of 1.88m, required a leap of 1.81m to make into the 12-strong final on Saturday.

The three-time national senior champion and training partner of Commonwealth men’s high jump gold medallist Hamish Kerr, opened with a first-time clearance at 1.71m. She had a brief blip at 1.76m with a first-time failure before quickly rediscovering her rhythm to soar clear at the second attempt.

A first-time clearance at 1.81m was enough for the Kapiti Coast raised athlete to advance in joint eighth position in qualification. Among the others who progressed into the final were recently-minted world champion Eleanor Patterson of Australia and her compatriot Nicola Olyslagers, the Olympic silver medallist.

“It was in our plan to make the final, I was ranked in the top 12 and I did the second best performance of my career leading into this (a 1.86m clearance in Tullamore, Ireland), so I knew I was in good condition and capable of making it.

“For the first couple of jumps it took me a while to remember my processes, but I have them written down and I’m prepared for what I need to do. The energy inside the stadium is awesome.

“Hamish’s gold definitely inspired me to do the best that I can and in the final I want to go out there and attempt a PB height, if not break it. If I do that, I will be happy.” 

Two Kiwis compete later today in the evening session

6.38am – Portia Bing – Women’s 400m hurdles heat one

7.35am – Connor Bell – Men’s discus final

For full results go here.