News & Updates

23 November 2022 • Track and Field

O'Hagan and Grimaldi set to feature at Rhythm and Jumps

Christchurch Old Boys United AC athlete Keeley O'Hagan will be competing on home ground at the 2022 Rhythm and Jumps event. (Credit: Alisha Lovrich)

Commonwealth Games high jump ace Keeley O’Hagan and Paralympic long jump champion Anna Grimaldi are just two of the star names set to compete at the sixth edition of the annual Rhythm and Jumps meeting at Christchurch Boys High School on Friday (25 November).

The annual meet attracts some of the finest domestic jumpers, energised and inspired by competing to music, with the event regarded as hugely popular among the New Zealand jumps’ community.

The men’s and women’s long jump competitions will take place from 5pm with both set to provide exciting and top-quality early season domestic battles. In the men’s event, in-form 2021 New Zealand champion Shay Veitch (Ariki) will hope to build on his monster Otago record leap of 7.83m earlier this month – a performance which elevated the 21-year-old athlete to joint fifth on the all-time New Zealand rankings.

Standing in opposition will be current New Zealand senior men’s long jump champion Felix McDonald (Athletics Taieri) – who has appeared in each of the five previous editions of Rhythm and Jumps, boasting one victory and four second places.

Also entered are Oceania decathlon champion Max Attwell (Old Boys), who has a long jump PB of 7.31m, and national U20 long jump gold medallist Angus Lyver of Palmerston North (7.18m).

The women’s long jump is no less competitive with double Paralympic long jump T47 champion Anna Grimaldi (Hill City University) looking to make an early season marker on the road to the World Para Athletics Championships in Paris next July. Also entered is six-metre jumper Ashleigh Bennett (Athletics Hawera) – a four-time national senior women’s long jump medallist, New Zealand heptathlon champion Christina Ryan (Old Boys), who boasts a long jump PB of 5.82m, and her club-mate World Masters W35 champion Helena Dinnissen (5.89m).

The men’s and women’s high jump competitions begin from 6.15pm with the star turn Keeley O’Hagan (Old Boys), who makes her first competitive appearance since setting a PB of 1.89m to finish sixth at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in July. O’Hagan intends to jump off a reduced five-step run up. Also competing are national senior silver medallist Imogen Skelton (Auckland City Athletics), who has a best of 1.86m, three-time national champion Josephine Reeves (Old Boys) and New Zealand U18 champion Jessica Hendren (North Canterbury AC).

Leading the contenders in the men’s high jump are Adam Stack (Old Boys), who leapt a PB of 2.07m to win the Oceania U20 title in June and national U18 gold medallist Ethan Bone (Papanui Toc H). New Zealand senior men’s bronze medallist Mate Poduje (Hill City) is also entered.

Between competitions there will be a special presentation to Alan Tucker and Graham Seatter, who will both be presented their Athletics NZ Life Membership pins by Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger.

Both Seatter and Tucker were announced as life members at the Athletics NZ AGM in September.

Seatter is a former race walking international who served as an athlete, coach and long-time administrator. Tucker has been involved in the sport as an athlete, coach, administrator and official and was influential in getting the Nga Puna Wai facility in Christchurch up and running. The Tucker Track, where the Rhythm and Jumps meeting will be hosted, is named in his honour.

Event organiser Terry Lomax, the Athletics NZ Lead for Combined Events and Jumps, said: “The event is now firmly established within the athletics calendar and many of our leading athletes look forward to competing at the meet, which offers good competition and invariably good conditions. I’ll also be organising a series of coaching clinics on Sunday, so many of the competitors will be sticking around for that. They will also have an opportunity to compete at an inter-club meet at Nga Puna Wai on Saturday.”