News & Updates
New Zealand are sending a team rich in both quality and quantity to contest the 2019 Oceania Area and Combined Events Championships in Townsville (June 25-28). Athletes compete across senior, U20 and U18 age-groups and here we identify 11 Kiwis in action to watch across the four-day competition.
Lisa Adams (F37 shot put and F37 discus)
The Rotorua Para athlete may have only been seriously involved in the sport for just over a year but her rise has been nothing short of phenomenal. After bettering the world F37 shot record at the New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Christchurch with 14.13m (note, this was not ratified as a world record) in March later that month she once again improved upon that distance with a 14.52m effort at the Sir Graeme Douglas International Track Challenge in Auckland. Coached by her sister, the double Olympic champion Dame Valerie Adams, her performance in Townsville will be another important stepping stone on the road to the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai in November.
Portia Bing (400m hurdles)
The former heptathlete has made a huge breakthrough this season as a 400m hurdler and the Aucklander will seek to further cement her new-found status in the discipline in Townsville. The 26-year-old blitzed to a national record 56.04 in Sydney in February before returning to the city to finish second at Aussie Nationals in April by chipping 0.18 from her New Zealand record and, securing the entry standard for the 2019 Doha IAAF World Championships (September 28-October 06).
Jacko Gill (Shot Put)
On the road back after suffering a life-threatening heart condition, the former World U20 champion is showing some promising form this year and Townsville represents another key staging post in his return to the sport. A season’s best of 20.76m at the Sir Graeme Douglas International in March is not far short of his PB of 21.01m and a strong performance in Townsville will offer encouragement he will be capable of at least matching the top ten finishes he has achieved at the last three global outdoor championships (2015 and 2017 World Championships and 2016 Olympics) at the 2019 Doha IAAF World Championships.
Zoe Hobbs (100m, 200m and 4x100m relay)
The 21-year-old Auckland-based sprinter will be seeking to add further gloss on what has already proved a memorable season. A 100m PB of 11.37 achieved in Hastings in January elevated her to number two on the all-time New Zealand rankings – and within 0.05 of Michelle Seymour’s national record. A World Championship entry standard of 11.24 is a demanding but not an impossible target for the ever improving athlete who was born and raised in Taranaki. Zoe, the national 100m and 200m champion, is also a quality athlete over the half-lap distance as her PB of 23.19 set in Canberra in February attests.
Hamish Kerr (High Jump)
The Christchurch-based athlete made a huge breakthrough in the 2018-2019 domestic season and he will be hoping for more during an international campaign which begins in earnest in Queensland. Hamish leapt a personal best of 2.25m in Christchurch in December to elevate himself to number two on the all-time New Zealand lists and also cleared 2.24m in Brisbane in March. Originally from Auckland, Hamish will be hoping to secure his position in the team for the 2019 Doha IAAF World Championships, which is conditional on him winning in Townsville (and subject to technical delegate approval).
Olivia McTaggart (Pole Vault)
The rising 19-year-old vaulter will once again seek another strong showing on the international stage as she takes to the runway in Townsville. After finishing ninth at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast and placing fifth at the World U18 Championships later last year, the Aucklander has maintained her upwardly mobile progress in 2019 under the inspire coaching of Jeremy McColl. In March she soared to a new personal best of 4.46m to clinch the national senior title in Christchurch – a mark which sits number two on the U20 2019 world lists. Like Hamish, Olivia has been conditionally selected in the team for the 2019 Doha IAAF World Championships.
Edward Osei-Nketia (100m, 200m)
“Fast Eddie” has garnered more than his fair share of column inches in recent months but now the Scots College student is fully committed to both New Zealand and the sport of athletics his presence in Townsville will create a huge buzz. The owner of New Zealand U20, U19 and U18 records for the 100m (10.19) and 200m (20.76) – his 100m mark time sits joint-fourth on the world U20 lists –his potential is enormous for a youngster who only turned 18 last month.
Julia Radcliffe (Hammer Throw)
Some 14 months after striking gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the Kiwi hammer thrower makes her welcome competitive return. Since her stunning success in Queensland, the Princeton University graduate has focused her on her professional development working for the Reserve Bank in Wellington but the 25-year-old still harbours aspirations to make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Her performance in Townsville will be the first step on that road.
Holly Robinson (F46 Javelin)
The Dunedin-based javelinist smashed the world record with a mighty hurl of 45.73m at the Australian Championships in April and continues her build up to the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai with an appearance in Townsville. Holly won silver medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, 2017 World Para Athletics Championships and 2018 Commonwealth Games behind Great Britain’s Hollie Arnold but her recent advancement offers huge encouragement that she can end her silver streak with gold later this year.
Sam Tanner (1500m)
One of the most exciting Kiwi middle-distance talents of his generation steps up to test his credentials at the Oceania Championships. During an outstanding summer the Athletics Tauranga athlete set national U19 and U20 records for the mile (3:58.41) and a New Zealand U19 1500m record (3:43.01) before going on to snare the national senior 1500m crown. Attending the University of Washington from August, it will be fascinating to see how the 18-year-old fares competing in New Zealand colours in Townsville. Last weekend in Seattle, Sam set New Zealand U20 and U19 1500m records courtesy of a blistering 3:38.74 clocking.
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