News & Updates

4 December 2023 • Community

Team captains insist Launch Athletics is not one to be missed

The team captains from the highly successful inaugural Launch Athletics event earlier this year. Credit: (Alisha Lovrich).

The team captains for Launch 2.0 are poised sure will prove an exhilarating second edition when the electrifying event bursts into life on Friday 15 December at AUT Millennium on Auckland’s North Shore.

The inaugural edition of the fast-paced meet, which took place in March, provided a re-imagined athletics experience for all competing teenage athletes. Taking part in a broad suite of innovative events to a backdrop of music, food and entertainment, the second running of the event promises more of the same.

Open to club and school athletes, all entrants will be drafted into four teams led by two elite senior athletes as team captains, who will be sharing the benefit of their expertise. Teams will then battle it out for honours in a number of conventional and unconventional events.   

World Para Athletics 200m T64 bronze medallist Mitch Joynt is one of the two Team Blue captains and the Para sprinter to relishing the thought of being involved for a second time.

“I’m absolutely fizzing to be a part of Launch Athletics again.” said Mitch. “It was an awesome event last time which put a really fun spin on an athletics meet. I’m stoked to see it back so soon, and hopefully it becomes a regular and integral part of the calendar.”

Former New Zealand 100m medallist Symone Tafuna’i will co-captain Team Yellow alongside pole vaulter James Steyn for a second successive year and she believes Launch 2.0 will further cement its rising status within the sport. 

“Last year we had seen great numbers of young talent come through the system and it brought back a lot of memories of what it was like when I used to do athletics at a young age,” explains Symone. “This year we are hoping for more teens who are just excited about getting into athletics if they haven’t already. Track and field is such a strong foundation for all sports across the board and the plus side is that you get to establish long lasting friendships! Go team yellow!“

New Zealand 200m champion Georgia Hulls will be one of two skippers of Team Green and the two-time World Championship representative insists the night is not one to be missed.

“I am really excited to be a team captain for Launch this year,” she says. “I am most looking forward to seeing New Zealand’s next stars setting PBs and smashing expectations. It’s going to be a great night, and I can’t wait to see you all there!”

New Zealand 200m record-holder Rosie Elliott is back for a second successive year as a co-captain for Team Red and she too can’t wait to be involved once more.

“I’m thrilled to be involved in Launch for a second year,” she says. “I am so excited to see how everyone has improved and to meet the new athletes. See you all there!”

Launch comprises ten track and field events; 60m,150m, 300m,600m, 1000m, medley relay, high jump, long jump, shot put and discus as well as three performance tests – standing long jump, vertical jump and overhead throw.  

All school and club athletes aged 14-16 – at any point in 2023 – are eligible to enter. The entry fee is $45 which also includes a souvenir competition singlet to keep and access to educational opportunities within the night.

Enter here

Full list of Launch 2.0 captains:

James Steyn (pole vault)
Symone Tafuna’i (sprinter)

Mitch Joynt (Para sprinter)
Isabel Neal (sprinter)

Rosie Elliott (sprinter)
Stephen Thorpe (multi-eventer)

Georgia Hulls (sprinter)
George Kozlov (sprinter)