News & Updates

8 February 2024 • Track and Field

Tanner and quality Para contingent highlight Porritt Classic

Sam Tanner pictured en route to winning the New Zealand mile title in Whanganui is one of the star performers set to compete at the Porritt Classic. Credit (Nat Kirk).

The 2024 Porritt Classic on Saturday 10 February has attracted just over 400 entries. Read our full event preview below.

Event Background

The domestic season heads north as the Porritt Classic – a National Permit Meet – takes centre stage in Hamilton this weekend.

Historically one of the most iconic one day track and field meets of the summer, the 2024 edition has a strong Para component (with 18 Para entries), so expect to see some outstanding performances as we edge closer to the 2024 Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Wellington next month.

This year’s event at Porritt Stadium will also feature New Zealand U20 men’s and women’s 3000m championship events.

Who is competing?

Sam Tanner – one of the stars of the New Zealand domestic track and field season so far – returns to action over 1500m looking for another quality performance. The 23-year-old middle-distance ace has collected national mile and 3000m titles over the past two weekends and the Athletics Tauranga athlete will be looking for a good performance as he makes his seasonal debut over the metric mile. The Whippets provide a strong challenge led by national mile silver medallist David Lee and Jack Paine.

Recently minted New Zealand 3000m champion Tillie Hollyer will seek to maintain her excellent form in the women’s 1500m. Among her chief opposition is national cross country, steeplechase and 10,000m champion Anneke Arlidge and 2023 New Zealand 10,000m gold medallist Katherine Camp.

It is a big weekend of action for the Para athlete as no less then three of the New Zealand medallists at the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships compete at Porritt Stadium.

Among them include home favourite Danielle Aitchison, a world para 200m gold and 100m silver medallist. The T36 sprinter of the Hamilton City Hawks club has big ambitions for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games and competing against strong domestic Para fields in both the 100m and 200m she look to make her mark.

Other heavyweight Para athletes in action include World Para 400m and long jump T36 silver medallist Will Stedman, who is up against able-bodied opposition in both events. The 24-year-old Christchurch-based athlete has consistently harvested medals on the global stage and will once again be eager to show his form on the road to the French capital.

Also in action is World Para 200m T64 bronze medallist Mitch Joynt who will flex his muscles in the Para 100m and 200m – where he will face World Para Championships representative Joe Smith (T37) and national T38 100m and 200m record-holder Jaxon Woolley.

On a strong Para programme, wheelchair racers Sarah James (T53) and Gabrielle Wright (T54) compete in Para events over 100m, 200m and 800m. The pair have been in great form and have recently set a slew of New Zealand records.

New Zealand 110m hurdles record-holder Josh Hawkins last weekend set a meet record and season’s best of 14.01 at the Team Ledger Harcourts Capital Classic and the Auckland City AC athlete will be hoping to dip below 14 seconds in Hamilton. Hawkins is also entered in the 100m flat, where he will face an in-form Hayato Yoneto, who placed second in the 100m in Wellington last Friday, and multiple winning national champion Joseph Millar. National 400m champion Lex Revell-Lewis has made a positive start to the season, setting a PB of 47.34 to win at the Potts Classic and the Waitakere City athlete will be the man to beat over the one-lap distance.

In the women’s 100m both Briana Irving (12.05) and national U18 champion Talia van Rooyen are entered while the 200m features New Zealand Secondary Schools champion Mia De Jager, Amelie Fairclough, the 2023 national U20 400m silver medallist and Camryn Smart, the Pacific Games 400m silver medallist. Fairclough and Smart will also lock horns in the women’s 400m.

The men’s 800m will say a tasty clash between teenager talents James Ford and Thomas Cowan – both of whom have banked performance standard times for the World U20 Championships in Lima, Peru. Stella Pearless – a 2:06.48 performer this season – will start favourite in the women’s 800m.

In the field, Blessing Sefo (Avondale) – fresh off his PB and World U20 Championships performance standard of 18.51m (6kg shot) – returns to the shot circle. Also entered are Liam Ngchok-Wulf (Papakura) who posted a PB of 17.26m (7.26kg implement) last Friday and Para thrower Corran Hanning (Kiwi) who registered a national F12 record of 11.88m last month.

National champion Anthony Nobilo is another in great shape as evinced by his 69.72m PB at the Potts Classic and the North Harbour Bays athlete will look to build on that as he faces a battle against US-based Kiwi Anthony Barmes at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Wellington next month (14-17 March). New Zealand champion Douw Botes is listed for the men’s javelin as is Donny Tuimaseve who set a Samoan record of 70.97m last weekend at the Sola Power Throwers Meet. Lewis Arthur (North Harbour) will look to maintain his excellent unbeaten start to 2024 in the men’s long jump.

In the women’s field events, expect teenagers Di Jager and Naomi Waite (Wellington Harriers) to be prominent in the high jump. Para athlete Paddy Walsh, who posted a T64 national record last month, is entered in the women’s long jump. Natalia Rankin-Chitar (Papatoetoe) will be aiming for a sixth win out of six competitions in the women’s shot so far in 2024 and Elizabeth Hewitt (Mana) and Nadja Kumerich (North Harbour Bays) will do battle in the women’s hammer.

The New Zealand U20 3000m Championships will also be on the line. In the women’s event look out for Poppy Martin (Lake City), who last week in Wellington snared a senior 3000m bronze medal as well as New Zealand U20 mile champion Charo Heijnen. The men’s event promises to be a cracker featuring the likes NZ U20 mile silver medallist Elliott Pugh, the New Zealand Secondary Schools 1500m champion Daniel Prescott and national U18 3000m champion Caleb Wagener. 

Full entries go here

How to Watch it?

The 2024 Porritt Classic will be livestreamed from 2pm here

Live results here