News & Updates

3 May 2024 • High Performance

Twelve named in initial NZ World Athletics U20 Championships team

New Zealand have named an initial 12-strong team to compete at the 2024 World U20 Championships in Lima, Peru (27-31 August) full of exciting talent which bodes well for the next generation.

The dozen athletes named in the team reflects well on the all-round health of the sport as sprinters, hurdlers, endurance runners, jumpers, throwers and race walkers have all been selected for the pinnacle global age-group competition.

Fresh off his selection for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, Ethan Olivier (Pakuranga) returns for a second crack at the World U20 Championships having placed fourth in the previous edition in Cali, Colombia two years ago. Since then, the South African-based athlete has gone from strength to strength and last year set a national senior triple jump record of 16.67m before claiming his maiden national senior triple jump crown in Wellington in March. He is currently ranked the world number one U20 athlete in the men’s triple jump.

No less than seven New Zealand men attained the World U20 performance standard mark for the 1500m to illustrate the rich stocks of middle-distance talent currently held within these shores. Earning selection over the men’s metric mile in Lima are national U20 1500m champion Jamie Mora (Whippets) and Southlander James McLeay (St Paul’s), who captured the New Zealand U20 mile crown earlier this year.

Further bolstering the New Zealand endurance challenge in Lima are two-time World Cross Country Championships representatives; Boh Ritchie and Catherine Lund. Ritchie (Hamilton City Hawks), the national U20 800m and 1500m champion, competes in the two-lap event in Cali and boasts a PB of 2:06.51 set in Hastings in January. Lund (Ariki), the current national U20 5000m and cross country champion, has been selected for the women’s 3000m steeplechase after dipping below the entry standard with a 10:35.57 performance in Dunedin in February.

Madeleine Waddell, 16, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in 2024 and has earned selection for both the women’s 400m and 400m hurdles. In only her third ever 400m hurdles race, the Hamilton City Hawks athlete romped to the World U20 performance standard mark when securing the national U20 400m hurdles title in 1:00.40. More recently she slashed more than a second from her 400m flat PB of 53.97 in New York to earn her berth in the latter event.

Madeleine now emulates her mum and coach, Sonia Waddell, who represented her country in the 400m hurdles at the 1990 World U20 Championships.

Addira Collette (Palmerston North), the national U20 100m silver medallist, has secured selection in the women’s 100m. Collette, 18, ran a season’s best of 11.69 in Palmerston North in April.

In the field, New Zealand boast a trio of throwers led by national U20 discus champion Suzie Kennelly. The 18-year-old of Papatoetoe AC is in good form evidenced by her PB of 50.00m set in Adelaide at the Australian Championships last month. She is joined on the team by men’s national U20 shot put champion Blessing Sefo (Waitakere), who set a PB with the 6kg implement of 18.51m earlier this year, and New Zealand senior men’s javelin gold medallist Douw Botes, 19, who hurled a PB of 68.62m at ITM in February,

Naomi Waite (Wellington Harrier), who set a high jump PB of 1.80m when winning the national U20 crown in the capital in February, will also appear in the Black Singlet in Lima.

The team is rounded out by emerging race walker Jonah Cropp. The 18-year-old Sumner Running Club athlete, who has smashed multiple national age-group records this year and finished 33rd in the 10km race walk at the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships in Antalya, Turkey last month, will compete in the men’s 10km race walk in Peru.

Athletics NZ High Performance Athlete Development Leader Tim Driesen said: “Our U20 athletes have produced a series of excellent results over a range of events so far this year and this has been reflected in a strong team which has secured selection for Lima.

“The World U20 Championships represent a great gauge for where our athletes match up to the rest of the world, and I can’t wait to see how they perform in late August.”

***Note, Cooper Wightman, George Wyllie and Callum Murray – all of whom have achieved a performance standard in the men’s 1500m and have been named as reserves in that order which has been determined by time.

***Note, three athletes, James Ford, Thomas Cowan and Alex Martin have achieved a Performance Standard in the 800m. Overseas based Alex Martin has been granted a qualification period extension having just started his season in the US. As such, any possible selections in the Men’s 800m will be made at a later selection announcement to take into account athlete performances over the differing qualification periods. The impacted athletes have been contacted directly about this.

***Note, other athletes not already mentioned above have achieved performance standards but have not been selected due to withdrawing from consideration or not applying for consideration.


Initial NZ team selected for the 2024 World Athletics World U20 Championships in Lima, Peru


100m – Addira Collette (Palmerston North AC)

400m/400m hurdles – Madeleine Waddell (Hamilton City Hawks)

800m – Boh Ritchie (Hamilton City Hawks)

3000m steeplechase – Catherine Lund (Ariki Athletic and Harrier Club)

High Jump – Naomi Waite (Wellington Harriers)

Discus – Suzie Kennelly (Papatoetoe AC)


1500m – Jamie Mora (Whippets Running Project)

1500m -James McLeay (St Pauls Harrier & AAC)

Triple Jump – Ethan Olivier (Pakuranga AC)

Shot – Blessing Sefo (Waitakere City AC)

Javelin – *Douw Botes (Papakura Athletic and Harrier Club)

10km Race Walk – Jonah Cropp (Sumner Running Club)

*Subject to eligibility to represent New Zealand