News & Updates

5 February 2022 • Track and Field

Sola Power meet turns up the heat

Lauren Bruce in action at the SolaPower Throws Meet today in Lower Hutt. (Credit: Maddi King)

The annual SolaPower Throwers meet has held a special place in the calendar for many in the New Zealand throwing community for years and today it basked in the glow of its new-found status as a fully-fledged Permit Meet.

Long regarded as one of the most vibrant meets on the circuit, it once again lived up to expectations with a number of personal best performances achieved despite the persistent rain which bombarded the Sola Power Academy facility in Lower Hutt for much of the day.

The star attraction of the meet was Oceania hammer record-holder Lauren Bruce, who duly delivered victory in her speciality event with a best of 66.87m. The South Canterbury AC athlete and Tokyo Olympian first competed at the meet as a 14-year-old and was delighted to return today for her first appearance there since 2016.

“It is really cool meet because it brings all the throwers together,” explains Lauren. “It is pretty special to be back. I haven’t been here for a while, but it has been nice to see the facility develop from a few throwing circles and paddock into one with now a shed and quite a few more throwing circles. It is cool to see what they’ve done with the place, and it gives so many kids an opportunity to learn how to throw.”

While Bruce, who boasts a lifetime best of 74.61m, was a little disappointed with her throwing today she was satisfied with her efforts over the past 24 hours having also triumphed in the women’s hammer at the Capital Classic in Newtown Park on Friday.

“We had a good week of training and came down to Wellington straight after Cooks Classic (last Sunday),” she explains. “The ball was moving pretty fast (in Wellington) and I haven’t had that so far this season. I had a couple of throws that were getting out there, but I put them out to the right side of the sector. We know I have some big throws in me, and it was one of the best competitions I’ve had in terms of being connected with the ball.”

Filling up the podium slots behind Bruce in the women’s senior hammer were Taieiri AC duo Mayce Ballantyne (54.88m) and Dyani Shepherd-Oates (53.13m).

Fresh off her outstanding PB of 15.92m at the Capital Classic in Wellington the preceding day, teenage talent Tapenisa Havea backed this up to win the U20 women’s shot put with a powerful third round throw of 15.65m. The 18-year-old from the New Brighton Olympic is in a rich vein of for and followed this up to take U20 victory in the women’s discus with a best of 48.01m.

The women’s senior shot was banked by experienced former national senior champion Te Rina Keenan (Waitakere) courtesy of a first round effort of 13.41m. Caitlin Bonne (Christchurch Old Boys) set a PB for second with a best of 12.58m.

Paralympic javelin F46 champion Holly Robinson was in shot action and matched the distance she achieved at Potts Classic with a best of 10.83m. Fellow Tokyo Paralympian Caitlin Dore achieved 8.61m (shot put F37).

In the senior men’s discus Nathaniel Sulopo of Samoa proved top of the pile with a best of 49.44m. A competitive U20 men’s discus was nabbed by Max Abbot (Karori) with a sixth round effort of 47.83m. Liam Ngchok-Wulf (Papakura) settled for second with a best of the day of 46.20m.

Tatiana Kaumoana maintained her 100 per cent record this year to claim top spot in the senior women’s discus. Despite the far from ideal conditions the Te Aroha thrower topped the standings with a best of 52.81m. Ten years her senior 2015 World Championship representative Te Rina Keenan (Waitakere) settled for second with a fourth round effort of 50.83m.

Star performer in the men’s shot was Blessing Sefo, who twice exceeded his previous personal best mark of 17.05m to claim a memorable victory in the U18 event. This meet has long been about inspiring the next generation of throwers and the 16-year-old Waitakere City athlete fit the brief by firing the 5kg shot to 17.17m in round five before cladding a further 14cm on to this in the final stanza.

The senior event was taken out by Liam Ngchok-Wulf (Papakura) with a best for the day of 14.74m from Sulupo (14.18am).

New Zealand Tokyo Paralympian Ben Tuimaseve was also in action achieving a best valid throw of 10.91m in the men’s shot F37.

In the senior men’s hammer Todd Bates (Taieri) powered the hammer out to a new PB of 57.66m en route to victory. In a reversal of their battle in the discus on this occasion Liam Ngchok-Wulf overcame Max Abbot with a best of 54.52m to win the men’s U20 hammer.

Alexander Hewitt shattered his previous personal best by almost eight metres with an eye-catching display in the men’s U18 hammer. The 15-year-old Mana athlete broke the turf at 57.45m to claim a comfortable win.

A mixed javelin competition provided the climax to the meet. Caitlin Bonne with 35.95m took top spot in the women’s senior competition. Keagan Shakey (St Patrick’s Silverstream) was a handy winner of the men’s U16 javelin with a best distance of 42.58m.

Full results go here