News & Updates

14 November 2019 • General

The Colgate Games Half Dozen

New Zealand international sprinter Zoe Hobbs last month competed in the Black Singlet at the World Championships in Doha. Here the Auckland-based 22-year-old, who originally hails from Taranaki, brings us six good reasons to compete in January’s North Island and South Island Colgate Games.

Zoe was unbeaten in the 100m, 200m and long jump during her time competing eight North Island Colgate Championships and two South Island Colgate Games.

With this year’s North Island Colgate Games staged in her home region of Taranaki, the international sprinter is convinced the event will be one to savour.

In my opinion Taranaki has one of the best tracks to offer in the country, as a sprinter we love a good mondo” explains Zoe who originally hails from Stratford. “Providing there is a favourable wind, there is some potential for some real quick times,” explains Zoe, who originally hails from Stratford. “It is pretty cool the event is coming back home, competing there in 2010 was one of the highlights of my Colgate Games career.”

1 – Unforgettable memories

Zoe competed in a total of 10 Colgate Games in her youth and each one provided a rich kaleidoscope of memories from which to draw.

“Both socially and competitively it was is an awesome event,” explains Zoe. “It was definitely the highlight of my sporting life as a youngster. My club (Eltham Athletics) along with the parents and the kids always made it such a special event.

“It always felt like an extended holiday being held post-New Year.

“The vibe of the competition and going to a new city I’d not previously competed at before like Tauranga, Nelson, Christchurch or Hastings always made it a wonderful experience. While the atmosphere of the competition in a packed stadium – sometimes more packed than for a nationals – added to the atmosphere.”

2 – Fun factor

It wasn’t just the competition itself that made Colgates what it was for Zoe, but the fun that was had away from the competition too.

“It was exciting getting to travel to the events with the family and spending lots of time socialising with team mates from the athletics club in and away from the track.

“It wasn’t just the event itself but all the stuff we did outside of the event like team dinners together or more simply just as kids hanging out and having fun. Inside the event, the team relays were always a real highlight and was something we enjoyed as a team”.

3 – Match your siblings

Zoe recalls the Colgate Games was a full family experience with mum, dad and older brother, Connor, attending the event each year. Connor did well throughout his time in athletics, and this acted as a big motivation for younger sister.

“He qualified for the Pacific School Games through his performances at Colgate Games,” she explains. “After he’d got the opportunity I also wanted the chance to go. I was ten at the time and wanted to make sure I did everything I could to make the team so in that year I competed at both the North Island Games in Inglewood and South Island Games in Christchurch.”

4 – Learn to thrive in a championship setting

Zoe’s repeated experiences of competing in a championship environment at Colgate Games enabled the Auckland-based sprinter to become a more mentally robust athlete.

“I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to perform well and I hated losing,” she explains. “I used to get so nervous at Colgates, I would not be able to eat breakfast on the morning of competition. It is very different today. I feel I can manage my nerves a lot better than what I did in the past, which I think has come from experience. Experiencing those nerves back then (at Colgates) has helped me cope better in the competitive settings I now face.”

5 – Embrace the full spread of events

Zoe was a regular in the 100m 200m and long jump but also seized the opportunity of competing in a total of four individual events (plus two relays) to experience new disciplines. On three occasions, she competed in the sprint hurdles and snared minor medals in the event. At the age of 10 she tried the high jump and she also competed in the 400m at age 11  – all of which contributed to her overall athletics education.

Zoe says that athletics is a diverse sport, which offers an array of events to cater for everyone.
“As a kid its good fun trying all the different events. giving each of them a go and figuring out which ones you like the most,” she adds.

6 – Great foundation

Many leading athletes in New Zealand have enjoyed a great grounding by competing at Colgate Games. Two-time Olympic 1500m medallist Nick Willis in addition to Olympic multi-eventers Brent Newdick and Sarah Cowley-Ross began their athletics journey at Colgates. Meanwhile, stars from other sports also competed at Colgate Games including former Silver Ferns skipper Bernice Mene and rugby and cricket international Jeff Wilson.

Zoe also believes the event offers a fantastic athletic foundation for all sports people and says Taranaki’s very own Michaela Blyde and Gayle Broughton (NZ sevens) used to compete in her day as well as Blacks Sticks Amy Robinson and Tarryn Davey – a former New Zealand Secondary Schools sprints and hurdles champion who also honed their athletics gift competing at the annual event.

***The North Island Colgate Games takes place from Jan 10-12 in Inglewood. The South Island Colgate Games takes place in Christchurch from Jan 17-19. Kids aged seven to 14 are eligible to compete at Colgate Games.