News & Updates

1 March 2023 • Track and Field

Walsh hopes to extend national shot put sequence in Wellington

Tom Walsh should notch up his 14th straight New Zealand shot put title at Newtown Park Wellington on Saturday. (Credit: Alisha Lovrich)

Tom Walsh should notch up his 14th straight New Zealand shot put title at Newtown Park Wellington on Saturday.

He will be competing at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships, which run from Thursday to Sunday. The championships include the under 16 grade championship for the first time.

Walsh currently has 14 national titles to his credit having won the discus throw in 2013. In the lower grades Walsh won the national U18 shot and discus titles in 2009 and his father, Peter, won the 1965 national junior shot put title.

Walsh will be up against a formidable opponent in Jacko Gill. The former World U20 and U18 champion, who has won the silver in the senior shot on five occasions.

Maddison-Lee Wesche is approaching the 20 metre mark in the women’s shot put and could secure this milestone in taking her fourth title. Lisa Adams, who holds the world shot put F37 record of 15.50m set in Hastings in 2020 will also be competing.

The one remaining New Zealand record that Connor Bell has yet to snare is the allcomers discus throw record of 66.81m. The 21-year-old has been on fire this season improving his national record to 66.14m at the Potts Classic and to 66.23m in Australia last week. He will be aiming for his third straight title. Tatiana Kaumoana, third last year is back for another attempt at the women’s discus title. Also competing are Savannah Scheen and Natalia Rankin-Chitar.

Highlights on the track should come from Rosie Elliott in the 400m, defending champion Laura Nagel versus Rebekah Greene in the 1500m, James Preston up against Brad Mathas over 800m, Zoe Hobbs’ first appearance this year in the 100m and 200m, Tiaan Whelpton eying his first national 100m title, and the leading distance runners Sam Tanner, Julian Oakley and Eric Speakman over 5000m.

Speakman, Tanner and Oakley are also down for the 1500m, where Tanner is the defending champion.

Speakman won the title in 2017 and since then has had a string of silver and bronze medals over the 1500m, mile, 3000m and 10,000m.

Nagel will also be defending her 5000m title. Anneke Grogan is entered in the 1500m, 5000m and plans to defend her 3000m steeplechase title.

Should she triumph, it will be seven successive years in a row for Hobbs in the women’s 100m, which will be the longest reign of any athlete in the event.

Elliott fresh from her New Zealand record breaking 200m in Christchurch will be looking to erase Kim Robertson’s long standing national 400m record of 51.60.

Georgia Hulls will be shooting for a third successive victory in the 200m.

Tommy Te Puni, Hamish Gill, Joseph Millar, Cody Wilson and Hayato Yoneto are all entered for both the 100m and 200m.

Considerable interest will centre on the women’s pole vault with the country’s leading vaulters Eliza McCartney, Olivia McTaggart and Imogen Ayris all in action together for the third time this season.

McCartney won at the Potts Classic with 4.36m to Ayris’ 4.21m, while McTaggart cleared 4.51m at the Daikin Night of 5s in December.

Nick Southgate, seven times champion, and James Steyn resume their rivalry in the men’s pole vault.

Hamish Kerr straight back from a hugely successful European indoor circuit, where he pushed his national high jump record up to 2.34m in Slovakia, will be in action.

He produced his previous national record (and still NZ resident record) of 2.31m at the Newtown Park venue two years ago.

Tori Peeters, close to the 60m mark this season should make it title number seven in the javelin throw, while Jared Neighbours will be defending his senior title.

Anthony Nobilo should make it five titles in a row in the hammer throw, where this season he has fired the 7.26kg out to a PB of 68.95m. Interestingly, in the hammer, Philip Jensen competes.

Jensen holds the championship record of the most titles in the same event with 20 hammer titles and the record of the most consecutive titles in the same event which is 17 between 1998 and 2014.

Lauren Bruce should retain her women’s hammer title, with the rapidly improving Lexi Maples ready to improve on her bronze medal last year.

The women’s 800m should produce a sterling finish, with Holly Manning defending the title against seven times champion Angie Petty, three times champion Katherine Camp, 2016 NZ U20 gold medallist Alison Andrews-Paul, Jennifer Hauke and 2018 U20 champion Stella Pearless.

Portia Bing, who set a national 400m hurdles record at the 2022 edition of the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships competes in the 400m hurdles, which will be her sixth straight title.

Jonathan Maples will defend the men’s title. Ieuan van der Peet will be pursuing a fourth steeplechase title.

Joshua Hawkins should take out his eighth and third in a row men’s 110m hurdles gold. Anna Percy and defending champion Celine Pearn compete in the senior women’s 100m hurdles.

John Gerber will be defending his 400m title against a strong lineup including Liam Webb, Lex Revell-Lewis and Troy Middleton.

Scott Thomson winner of the triple jump crown for the last two years will face four times champion Ebuka Okpala while Anna Thomson will be looking to round out her sixth women’s triple jump title.

Mariah Ririnui will be going for three years in a row in the women’s long jump with Paralympic long jump T46 champion Anna Grimaldi also competing.

Shay Veitch, Felix McDonald and Lewis Arthur head the men’s long jump.

Alice Taylor, Keeley O’Hagan the defending champion, Imogen Skelton and three times previous title holder Josephine Reeves will match heights in the women’s high jump.

Double Paralympic sprint medallist Danielle Aitchison and Anna Steven are in the Para Athlete sprints while four-time Paralympic medallist Will Stedman competes in the 200m, 400m and long jump.

In-form Corran Hanning will be aiming to improve on his glut of national shot put and discus F12 records.

Laura Langley and Courtney Ruske compete in the long distance road walks on Sunday morning with Langley also in the 3000m track walk, the opening track event on Thursday. Jonah Cropp, Lucas Martin and Norwegian Magnus Græsli compete in the men’s race walks.

For full entries and results go here

For full live stream information go here

Events – Athletics New Zealand