News & Updates

18 August 2023 • High Performance

New Zealand all set to begin World Athletics Championships quest

The New Zealand team line up ahead of the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest. Note, the image is missing several athletes. Credit: (Michael Dawson).

A hugely talented 19-strong New Zealand team is ready for action and seeking to make an impact at the 2023 World Athletics Championships, which take place from 19-28 August.

Off the back of a successful pre-camp in Montpellier in the South of France, the team, rated by many as the finest Kiwi line up to compete in the 40-year history of the World Athletics Championships, will kick-start their quest on Saturday at 20:30 (NZ time) as heavyweight throwing duo Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill line up for the men’s shot put qualification.

The pair have each reached the past four World Championships shot put finals and both will seek to extend their sequence in the Hungarian capital. Walsh and Gill, who finished one-two at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, will then hope to make their mark in the final scheduled for 06.35 on Sunday (20 August).

In a team with plenty of star quality – 2022 Commonwealth high jump champion Hamish Kerr will look to successfully negotiate qualification in the men’s high jump from 20.35 on Sunday where he will hope to feature in the medal shake up in the final on Wednesday from 05.55.

Oceania 100m record-holder Zoe Hobbs opens her women’s 100m campaign inside the brand new National Athletics Centre at 22:10 on Sunday with the semi-finals and final to follow on Tuesday (22 August) at 6:35 and 7:50, respectively.

Our three-strong women’s pole vault team led by Eliza McCartney, which also includes Imogen Ayris and Olivia McTaggart, will be in qualification action from 04.40 on Tuesday with the final scheduled for 05.30 on Thursday (24 August).

Other leading Kiwi names to watch out for include – George Beamish (men’s 3000m steeplechase), Sam Tanner (men’s 1500m), Maddi Wesche (women’s shot) and Tori Peeters (women’s javelin).

The squad will feature three World Championship debutants – Connor Bell (men’s discus), James Preston (men’s 800m) and Tiaan Whelpton (men’s 100m).

Athletics NZ High Performance Director Scott Newman said: “The World Athletics Championships in Budapest is our pinnacle event of the year and we have been delighted with how final preparations have gone during pre-camp in Montpellier.

“Many of our athletes have enjoyed an outstanding year and we are looking forward to seeing how they perform against the global elite. I’m sure the team will do us proud in the Hungarian capital.”

Walsh, who won the world shot title in 2017 and who claimed bronze at the 2019 edition in Doha with an Oceania record throw of 22.90m, has been very satisfied with his form leading into Budapest.  highlighted by a 22.58m hurl in London – the fourth best of his career.

“Globally the men’s shot put is a red hot event but I’m really pleased with my current shape,” said Walsh. “Ryan Crouser (the World and Olympic champion) will start favourite, but I have a very good championship record, so I’m always very confident I can challenge on the big stage. I’m excited to compete in Hungary, a country with a passion for the throws.”

McCartney, the 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medallist, who has endured several years of injury turmoil is delighted to once again be in outstanding form after vaulting 4.85m in Schifflange, Luxembourg last month to sit second on the world lists for 2023.

“I’m very excited to be competing in Budapest at my first major championships in five years,” said McCartney. “I’ve worked hard, I’ve had a good season and now I’m just looking to competing against the best. It is a privilege to line up as part of a strong 19-person team for New Zealand.”

*Watch Live Coverage of the 2023 World Athletics Championships on Sky Sport 7 starting at 18:40 on Saturday

*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