News & Updates

23 February 2024 • Track and Field

O’Hagan hopes to soar at ITM

Keeley O’Hagan in action at the 2023 ITM will be looking for a good performance against a top-class field at the 2024 edition on Saturday (24 Feb). Credit: (Alisha Lovrich)

After a stop-start season leading New Zealand high jumper Keeley O’Hagan hopes the quality of the field both domestically and internationally at ITM on Saturday (24 Feb) can act as the catalyst for rejuvenating her campaign.

O’Hagan, who set her PB of 1.89m when placing sixth at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, struggled to produce her very best during an injury impacted 2023.

But now she is setting her sights on competing at Nga Puna Wai on Saturday, where she faces the challenge of Australian duo – Erin Shaw (1.90m), a 2023 World Championships representative, and Emily Whelan (1.87m) as well as recently crowned New Zealand heptathlon champion Maddie Wilson, who set a PB of 1.86m in Dunedin last week, and her compatriot Imogen Skelton (1.86m).

“I’m really looking forward to ITM,” said O’Hagan who also competes against Japanese champion Nagisa Takahashi (1.86m) in a truly international line up. “I’m up against a really strong group of high jumpers so the competition will be very good. It is awesome to have a good field of overseas athletes compete here. To compete against such a field while able to sleep in my own bed at home the night before is a nice luxury, because I usually have to travel to find such competition.”

The three-time national champion, who celebrates her 30th birthday next month, opened her campaign at the Lovelock Classic in Timaru in early January with victory courtesy of a 1.80m clearance. However, a frustrating hip injury delayed her season for the next five weeks until an outing at the Maurie Plant meet in Melbourne last week, where she finished fourth by matching her season opening height.

While O’Hagan has not quite yet delivered her best this campaign, she is optimistic of a good showing in her adopted home city.

“I have heights I want to achieve, and I want to nail my processes,” said Keeley, who originally hails from the Kapiti Coast. “Melbourne really highlighted a couple of things I needed to work on in a big competition environment. My goal at ITM is to tick off the goals both performance and non-performance related.”

After enjoying a good winter training under the coaching of Terry Lomax she believes she is ready to thrive with Keeley’s main goals on the horizon regaining her national title at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Wellington and having a “good crack” at the 33-year New Zealand women’s high jump record of 1.92m held by Tania Murray.

Later this year she plans to head to Europe before returning to Fiji to compete at the Oceania Championships in June with the Paris Olympic Games the overriding goal.

“I know based on how my training has been for I am in better shape than I was in 2022,” she explains. “The majority of my testing markers have all improved significantly and I’ve never been jumping the heights I have been in training so consistently.

“I was gutted to miss three competitions through injury (this season) but I know what I am capable of and I would like to see all my hard work come to fruition.”


The 2024 ITM will be livestreamed from 1pm on Saturday here

For live results go here

For the full event programme go here