News & Updates

21 August 2023 • High Performance

Hobbs advances but Kerr is eliminated in mixed session for New Zealand

Zoe Hobbs eased into the semifinals of the women’s 100m with an assured heat performance. Credit: (Michael Dawson).

Two of New Zealand’s star athletes experienced mixed fortunes on a boiling hot day two morning session at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest as Zoe Hobbs advanced to the semifinals of the women’s 100m but Commonwealth champion Hamish Kerr made a disappointing exit in the men’s high jump qualification.

Hobbs, who has enjoyed a stellar year and smashed the New Zealand and Oceania women’s 100m record on three occasions in 2023, featured in the seventh and last of the first round heats.  

Chasing one of the three automatic qualification spots, the 25-year-old Auckland-based sprinter made her an excellent start before double Olympic 100m gold medallist and five-time World 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce seized control of the race. The Jamaican sprint queen blasted to victory clocking 11.01 (+0.2) with Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland finishing strongly to grab second in 11.08 with Hobbs nabbing a comfortable third spot in 11.14.

Sha’Carri Richardson of the US headed the qualifiers into the semifinals, which take place from 06.35 (NZ time) on Tuesday, recording a time of 10.92.

Hobbs said: “I was happy with how I executed that race. It was really hot out there, getting up to 33 degrees, so a fair bit of heat management. Today was about conserving my energy as much as I could for tomorrow. Stoked to have the job done and now my focus is on tomorrow and executing the semi where I would love to make the final.”

Kerr, the Commonwealth champion, disappointingly exited the men’s high jump qualification as he found 2.25m beyond him on this occasion. A 2.34m high jumper at his best, the

27-year-old Christchurch-based athlete cleared 2.18m and 2.22m with his first attempt in a lengthy qualification but found the 2.25m puzzle too tricky in one of the sport’s most technical of events.

World champion Mutaz Barshim of Qatar was one of 13 men who cleared 2.28m to earn their place in the final which takes place on Wednesday morning from 05.55 (NZ time).

Kerr, who missed out on a final spot at a third successive World Championships, said: “I’m not really sure what to say to be honest, I was in good form coming in but for whatever reason I couldn’t execute the plan we had in place. This one stings more than anything I’ve ever experienced and honestly I’m not sure what’s next. I’m supposed to be in Europe for another month to compete but the realities of being a New Zealand athlete on the big stage is the massive toll travelling takes- being away from home and our loved ones for long periods of time is hugely draining and right now all I can think of is going home for a break.”

Drawn against some world-class competition, Rosie Elliott was eliminated from the women’s 400m, placing eighth in 52.88 in her first round heat.

The 25-year-old sprinter, making her second World Championships appearance, did not quite rediscover the form which took her to a PB of 52.16 during the domestic track and field season.

The 2022 World bronze medallist Sada Williams of Barbados in 50.78 secured the heat three win. Double Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of Bahamas was also knocked out of the competition, placing seventh – one place in front of Elliott – in 52.65 in her first 400m race of the year.

Elliott said: “I was quite proud of how I executed my race today. The heat was one of the least tough parts of the last few months for me.

“What I’ve learned is I’ve still been able to come back and do a couple of really good races, even though my training was interrupted. I think this has proven how mentally strong I am when I need to be.”

The next New Zealand athlete to compete at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest is Sam Tanner, who competes in the second semifinal of the men’s 1500m at 03:40 Monday.

*Follow timetable/results here

*Profiles of all 19 New Zealand athletes competing in Budapest plus a full schedule of when the Kiwis are competing can be seen here