News & Updates

31 May 2024 • Track and Field

Huge New Zealand contingent set for Oceania challenge

Team captains Josh Hawkins and Alison Andrews-Paul will look to spearhead the New Zealand challenge at the 2024 Oceania Athletics Championships. Credit (Alisha Lovrich).

A large and high-quality New Zealand team of 114 athletes are set to make their mark at the Oceania Area Championships in Suva, Fiji from Saturday 1 June to Saturday 8 June.

Senior, U18 and Para athletes will all be action in the biennial competition all harbouring individual goals across the eight-day competition, which offers substantial world ranking points for those targeting Paris 2024 and the 2025 World Athletics Championships in Tokyo.

Leading the challengers for New Zealand in the HFC Stadium will be Oceania hammer record-holder Lauren Bruce, who has earned selection for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The 27-year-old Melbourne-based Timaru-raised athlete is still to meet her performance conditions for Paris, so she will keen to make an impact in Suva.

New Zealand boast an experienced team of sprinters and hurdlers in Fiji, led by four-time World Championships representative Portia Bing. The 31-year-old Aucklander and New Zealand 400m hurdles record holder is entered in both the 400m flat and 400m hurdles and earlier this year smashed her PB in the former event.

Further bolstering the New Zealand sprints challenge is New Zealand 200m champion and two-time World Championships representative Georgia Hulls, who is entered in the women’s 200m.

Leading the New Zealand bid in the men’s 100m is national champion Tiaan Whelpton, who will be hoping for a prominent showing after competing in the Black Singlet over 60m at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March.

New Zealand 400m champion Lex Revell-Lewis, who produced a breakthrough PB of 46.12 at the Sir Graeme Douglas International presented by Harcourts Cooper & Co in Auckland within 0.03 of the national 400m record, competes in both the 200m and 400m.

Joint Team Captain Josh Hawkins, the New Zealand 110m hurdles record-holder, will be in action in his speciality event looking to fly the flag proudly for the Kiwi sprint hurdles community.

Among the leading New Zealand endurance performers in action in Suva is Hawkins’ fellow team captain Alison Andrews-Paul, the national senior women’s 800m champion. The Canadian-based Kiwi is in excellent recent form as evidenced by recording the second fastest time of her career in Los Angeles – 2:02.11 earlier this month – and the 26-year-old, who hails from the Wairarapa, will be keen to build on that performance in the Fijian capital.

National 1500m and track mile champion Rebekah Aitkenhead and Laura Nagel, who earlier this month secured the road mile and road 5km double, are both entered in the women’s 1500m while Eric Speakman, the recently minted inaugural men’s national 5km road champion, starts in both the 5000m and 10,000m. He is joined in the former event by national 5000m champion William Little.

In the field, 2022 Commonwealth Games representative Keeley O’Hagan and national champion Imogen Skelton feature in a highly competitive women’s high jump.

Nick Palmer, who became the third male Kiwi after Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill to become a member of the 20m shot put club at the ITM in February, will look to make an impact in the men’s shot. Elsewhere in the throws, Kiwi duo Anthony Barmes and Anthony Nobilo will renew their rivalry in the men’s hammer after Barmes edged the latter at the 2024 Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships.

In the multi-events, Maddie Wilson, who moved to number six on the all-time New Zealand rankings with a score of in 5990pts to win the national crown in February, is entered in the heptathlon along with national silver medallist Briana Stephenson.

New Zealand decathlon champion Angus Lyver, who bagged a haul of five medals at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in March, competes in the men’s decathlon.

The New Zealand team boasts a number of athletes selected for the 2024 World Athletics U20 Championships in Lima, Peru these include 16-year-old Madeleine Waddell, who competes in both the U18 400m and the senior 400m hurdles. Boh Ritchie, selected in the 800m for Lima, toes the line in both the senior 800m and 1500m, while high jumper Naomi Waite is entered in the women’s senior competition.

New Zealand also enters a 13-strong Para contingent led by 2023 Para Athletics World Championships men’s 100m T37 finalist Joe Smith. The Auckland sprinter competes in both the men’s 100m and 200m Ambulatory Para events. Rising Para star Milly Marshall-Kirkwood – a F57 classification athlete – is entered in both the women’s secured Para shot put and discus events – while teenage sprinter Jaxon Woolley (T38) has a busy three-event schedule, competing in the men’s Para 100, 200m and long jump.

Team captain Josh Hawkins said: “I’m honoured to be named team captain and as I reflect on how far I’ve come in my career I understand how much it means. I’m very lucky as an athlete to focus every day on being able to perform to my best. For me to be a successful team captain I need to help create an environment to allow the athletes to perform to their best.”

Fellow team captain Alison Andrews Paul said: “I am super honoured to be named team captain and this is an awesome opportunity to get to know all the athletes. The Oceania Champs will be a unique experience. We have a large team of more than 100 athletes, and we are all coming from a different place in terms of our individual goals. It is great chance to represent our country and I’m looking for the team to bring some positive energy, which will allow us to excel and bring home some medals for New Zealand.”

Andrews-Paul is in great shape following her 2:02 performance in Los Angeles and is seeking to maintain the momentum in Suva.

“I’ve been tracking well lately, and I feel the strongest I’ve ever been,” she said. “Now that we’ve started to sharpen up for these championships – I’m excited to see how it all pans out on race day.”

New Zealand Team Leader Kim Mickle said: “This is one of the largest New Zealand team we have ever sent to an overseas championship event, and we are very excited for the eight days of competition. The ambitions of each athlete differs from individual to individual, but what is exciting is we have experienced international performers rubbing shoulders with young emerging athletes on the same team. I cannot wait to see how the athletes perform.”

The Oceania Invitational – a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze meet – will take place on Saturday (1 June) at the HFC Stadium. Ten Kiwis are entered including Andrews-Paul in the 800m, who competes alongside fellow Kiwi Rebekah Aitkenhead. Portia Bing will take to the track in the 400m hurdles while Nick Palmer competes in the men’s shot.


For entry information and timetable of both the Oceania Championships and Oceania Invitational go here

***We are still awaiting confirmation of the livestream details here.

***Note, the Oceania Athletics Championships also feature the Oceania Masters Championships.