News & Updates

8 January 2022 • Track and Field

Hobbs maintains outstanding form at Lovelock Classic

Zoe Hobbs en route to 100m victory at the Lovelock Classic in Timaru. (Credit: Mario Oostendorp).

Fresh from her stunning New Zealand 100m record in Auckland last month, Zoe Hobbs once again served notice of her outstanding form blasting to 100m victory in 11.40 (0.0m/s) at the Lovelock Classic in Timaru today.

In warm conditions, the Auckland-based athlete defeated a loaded field to come within 0.13 of her national record mark and once again assert her dominance on the domestic sprint scene. Anna Percy, who elevated herself to number three on the all-time New Zealand rankings for the women’s 100m after a 11.40 clocking in December, grabbed second in 11.68 with Livvy Wilson in third (11.83).

Zoe, 24, who has claimed five successive senior women’s national 100m titles, said: “It was nice to dust away the cobwebs after having enjoyed a bit of a break over the holiday season. You never quite know how you are going to go after a period of interruption.

“I panicked a bit at the start and maybe rushed things. I should have stayed lower longer (coming out of thee blocks) and been a bit more patient. It is just a process thing. I’m pleased with the run, especially the time.”

Sprinter Tiaan Whelpton opened his 2022 account by blitzing to an impressive time of 10.43 into a stiff -2.5m/s headwind to claim a comfortable win in the men’s 100m. The 21-year-old of Christchurch Old Boys United made a significant impact during the 2020-21 domestic campaign, notching an eye-catching win in 10.37 from Eddie Osei-Nketia at the Potts Classic and later recording a PB of 10.30 to climb to number five on the all-time New Zealand lists. Injury brought a premature end to his season, but Tiaan revealed his very much back in form at Aorangi Park with the 10.43 clocking – the third fastest legal time of his career.

Behind, New Zealand 100m champion Shay Veitch (Ariki) grabbed second in 10.83 with his fellow Otago-based athlete Felix McDonald 11.22 rounding out the podium positions.

Chanel Muir regained the Lovelock Mile title, launching a brave bid for victory in the final 400m to wipe more than four seconds from his PB, posting 4:10.99. The 19-year-old from the Christchurch Avon club clinched victory in this race in 2020 and finished second to club-mate Daniel Roswell 12 months ago but today proved top of the pile once more. Chanel proved too strong for the field with Benjamin Wall (Palmerston North) claiming second in 4:11.77 with Daniel Roswell on this occasion third (4:12.68).

Shogo Watanabe (University of Canterbury) had taken the field through the first two laps before club-mate Connor Melton took up the pace on lap three. Chanel launched his winning strike with 390m to go as he raced to the front.

“Last year I was in the same position but I finished second after I was mowed down at the finish, so I definitely wasn’t confident,” adds Chanel.

“With 200m to go I had someone on my shoulder, so I edged out slightly to make it harder for him to pass me on the bend. For the last 100m I thought nothing other than to run as fast as I could to the finish. It is a good feeling to win the race again because it is one of the most prestigious races on the South Island.”

Coached by Craig Eustace and Barry Magee, Chanel was delighted to destroy his previous best for the distance – recorded two years ago when winning this race – and he believes he is being rewarded for a more circumspect approach to training.

“I’ve just been trying not to push it too much because I’ve in the past I’ve ended up injured,” he says. “I’ve tried to play a slow and patient game.”

Katherine Camp secured a fourth successive victory in the women’s mile with a typically dominant display. The three-time national 800m champion has regularly targeted this event to open her campaign for the year, and once again it proved a fruitful experience as she stopped the clock in 4:45.95 – just over a second-and-a-half outside her mile PB.

Taking up an early lead, the 29-year-old University of Canterbury athlete repelled the challenge of Anneke Grogan (North Harbour) over the final lap to claim victory. Anneke grabbed second in 4:50.80 with Katherine’s club-mate Rosa Twyford in third (4:52.22).

“It is always a nice place to kick-off the season, and it is nice to be at a much better sheltered track than in Christchurch,” adds Katherine. “It was a good start (to the season). As an athlete you always want more, but I’m pleased with how I executed the race, I can’t complain.”

Anneke Grogan, the national 3000m bronze medallist, returned later to win the women’s 3000m in a handy 9:53.90.

The strength in depth of women’s sprinting in New Zealand was further illustrated as national 200m champion Georgia Hulls (Hastings) executed another top-class performance to win the half-lap event in a time of 23.49 (-1.1) – 0.28 clear of 2020 New Zealand 200m silver medallist Rosie Elliott. Georgia was just 0.14 outside her personal best set in November and she will be lifted by the performance ahead of the Potts Classic on her home track in Hastings later this month.

Meanwhile, in the women’s 400m flat Portia Bing (Waitakere), the New Zealand 400m hurdles record-holder, impressed to win in a slick 53.40 – within 0.02 of her lifetime best for the distance. National 400m bronze medallist Jordyn Blake (Christchurch) 55.80 placed second.

John Gerber (Hill City) enjoyed a successful afternoon completing the men’s 200m and 400m double. The national 400m bronze medallist enjoyed a handy early season run over the one-lap distance, stopping the clock in 48.84 and also bagged 200m victory in 22.34 (-2.1).

In the field, national heptathlon champion Christina Ryan (South Canterbury) added 9cm to her lifetime best, which was set at Rhythm and Jumps in November, to win the women’s long jump with a quality 5.71m (-0.5) in the sixth round. Paralympic long jump T47 champion Anna Grimaldi, in her first competition since striking gold in Tokyo, achieved a best of 5.40m (-1.8) for fourth.

In the men’s long jump national champion Shay Veitch (Ariki) claimed top spot with his one legitimate jump from the afternoon a 7.29m (+1.6) from Felix McDonald (Athletics Taieri), who broke the sand at a best of 7.09m (+0.4)

In the women’s discus, Tatiana Kaumoana (Te Aroha) impressed to set a personal best of 53.12m and take top spot. The 21-year-old adding 21cm to her previous best.

A red hot Athletics NZ A team of Anna Percy, Rosie Elliott, Georgia Hulls and Zoe Hobbs were unfortunately DQd in the women’s 4x100m relay after exchanging the baton outside of the changeover zone. Following the mishap the B team team of Livvy Wilson, Portia Bing, Amy Robertson and Brooke Somerville triumphed in 45.60.

For all the results from the 2021 Lovelock Classic go here