News & Updates

6 August 2023 • High Performance

New Zealand announce team to take on the world in Budapest

New Zealand are set to send a 19-strong team to the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest brimming with confidence, experience and medal potential following a series of outstanding performances during both the Southern and Northern Hemisphere summer season’s this year.

Boasting no less than six athletes who sit in the top ten in the World Lists, expectation is high in the Hungarian capital for a team which is, arguably, the best assembled by New Zealand in the 40-year history of the World Athletics Championships.

Leading the challengers are men’s shot put duo Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill, who are both set to make their fifth World Championships appearance on the back of an exciting year. Walsh, the 2017 world champion, will take on the formidable challenge of world and Olympic champion Ryan Crouser buoyed by a 22.58m effort at the London Diamond League last month – his longest since posting his Oceania record of 22.90m when winning bronze at the 2019 World Championships.

Gill enjoyed an outstanding domestic season defeating Walsh to win his maiden national senior men’s shot title in Wellington before setting a PB of 22.12 at the Sir Graeme Douglas International presented by Harcourts Cooper & Co in Auckland.

Expectation will be high when 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Eliza McCartney takes to the pole vault runway for her first World Athletics Championships since 2017. After several years of injury struggle the 26-year-old Aucklander is back competing at a world-class level. Her recent vault of 4.85m in Schifflange, Luxembourg was her best for four-and-a-half years and elevated her to number two on the 2023 world lists.

McCartney will comprise one third of a full complement of New Zealand women’s pole vaulters in Budapest alongside Olivia McTaggart, who set a PB of 4.71m in March, and Commonwealth bronze medallist Imogen Ayris, who registered her lifetime best of 4.53m in Jockgrim, Germany on Saturday (5 Aug) morning (NZ time).

Other heavyweight performers in the New Zealand team include Commonwealth high jump champion Hamish Kerr who makes his third World Championships appearance. The Christchurch-based jumper leapt a lifetime best of 2.34m in Banska Bystrica in February and as he showed when winning bronze at the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships he can live with the very best in the world on the global stage.

After enjoying a stellar year – which has included three times lowering the Oceania women’s 100m record and becoming the first woman from the region to run a sub-11 second 100m – hopes will be high when Zoe Hobbs hits the track as she makes her third World Championships appearance in the women’s 100m.

New Zealand will also boast a strong contingent of female throwers led by Maddi Wesche, who finished seventh in the women’s shot put at the 2022 World Championships with a PB of 19.50m and Tori Peeters, who is ranked number eight on the World Lists in the women’s javelin following her national record hurl of 63.26 in Yokohama, Japan in May. Oceania women’s hammer record-holder Lauren Bruce, with a season’s best of 71.24m, competes at her second World Championships.

George Beamish will compete in the men’s 3000m steeplechase hot on the heels of breaking the 39-year-old New Zealand record in the event in Monaco last month with a stunning 8:13.26. The US-based Kiwi has enjoyed an outstanding debut season as a senior steeplechaser and it will be fascinating to see how he fares in the white-hot heat of a global championship competition.

Other selected men’s endurance runners include Sam Tanner, who competes in the men’s 1500m at a second successive World Championships, bolstered by a PB performance of 3:31.24 at the Silesia Diamond League in July. New Zealand also boasts two men’s 800m representatives in Brad Mathas, who set a PB of 1:45.75 in Pfungstadt in June, and New Zealand champion James Preston – one of three New Zealand athletes set for their World Championships debut in Budapest.

The other World Championships debutants are men’s discus thrower Connor Bell, who earlier this year set two national records with a best of 66.23m in Melbourne, and 100m sprinter Tiaan Whelpton, who has twice registered a lifetime best of 10.14 this season.

Portia Bing (400m hurdles) is selected for her fourth World Championship eight years after making her debut appearance in Beijing as a heptathlete. Sprinters Georgia Hulls (200m) and Rosie Elliott (400m) have also earned a spot on the team and will both appear at a second successive World Athletics Championships.

New Zealand sprint ace Zoe Hobbs said of her selection: “It’s always special to represent Aotearoa New Zealand in the sprints and to do it alongside my teammates. It’s been rewarding to see a lot of what we’ve worked on come together this year and to be able to continue to build on that. We’ve had some solid blocks of training and racing but with a focus on the approach to the World Athletics Championships, I’m excited to finally get out there.” 

World Championship debutant Connor Bell said: “After having a promising summer season with some notable performances, it is super exciting to have qualified for my first World Championship team. I’ve had a good few months of training, developing my horsepower and solidifying my throwing technique and my focus is now shifting to Budapest and being in the best shape I can be in late August.”

Athletics NZ High Performance Director Scott Newman said: “We are thrilled to confirm our World Championships team following a series of outstanding performances by so many of our elite athletes. Expectation will be high in Budapest, and we are confident the team will make New Zealand proud and perform to a high standard at the pinnacle event of the athletics year.”

The 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest take place from August 19-28 (NZ time).

New Zealand Team selected to compete at the 2023 World Athletics Championships:


100m – Zoe Hobbs (James Mortimer)

200m – Georgia Hulls (James Mortimer)

400m – Rosie Elliott (James Mortimer)

400m hurdles – Portia Bing (James Mortimer)

Pole Vault – Eliza McCartney (Matt Dallow)

Pole Vault – Olivia McTaggart

Pole Vault – Imogen Ayris

Shot – Maddi Wesche (Mike Schofield)

Hammer – Lauren Bruce (Dale Stevenson)

Javelin – Tori Peeters (Kirsten Hellier)


100m – Tiaan Whelpton

800m – James Preston (Evan Cooper)

800m – Brad Mathas (Justin Rinaldi)

1500m – Sam Tanner (Craig Kirkwood)

3000m steeplechase – George Beamish (Dathan Ritzenhein)

High Jump – Hamish Kerr (Terry Lomax)

Shot – Jacko Gill (Dale Stevenson)

Shot – Tom Walsh (Hayden Hall)

Discus – Connor Bell (Mike Schofield)