News & Updates

19 September 2020 • Track and Field

World-class throws showcase at Spring Series

A festival of world-class throwing will showcase the third and final meet of the Athletics NZ Spring Series at Mitre 10 Park in Hastings on Sunday.

The action gets underway from noon starting with the hammer, followed by the discus, shot and javelin.

The highlight of the programme could be a mouth-watering head-to-head showdown between two-time Olympic champion Dame Valerie Adams and the rising New Zealand star of the shot circle, Maddison Wesche.

Adams, the 35-year-old eight-time world champion, remains a formidable competitor and hurled the 4kg shot out to a solid 18.28m in the second Spring Series meet on Thursday.

There is no doubt the vastly experienced Aucklander will have improved from her first competitive outing since March but Wesche – 14 years her junior – will be keen to make her mark.

At the first Spring Series meet last Sunday, the 2018 world U20 champion clinched victory with a handy throw of 17.98m – within 34cm of her lifetime best – and the Aucklander will be keen to improve upon that performance when she makes her eagerly-awaited return to the shot circle.

Further bolstering the quality of the women’s shot is the appearance of F37 para athlete Caitlin Dore, who cracked the 10m barrier for the first time in Thursday’s second Spring Series meet. The 24-year-old Otago athlete catapulted to fourth on the world rankings with that 10.04m throw and she will be keen to record another eye-catching performance on Sunday.

The men’s shot competition is highlighted by the appearance of 2019 World Championships bronze medallist Tom Walsh, who makes his third appearance in a week as part of the Spring Series.

The 28-year-old Cantabrian banked comfortable wins in the opening two meets at Mitre 10 Park, recording 21.54m on Sunday and 21.62m on Thursday and he will be motivated to climax his Spring Series campaign on a high note.

“I’m looking forward to getting out there again and competing on Sunday,” Walsh says.

“I’ve been working towards this Spring Series competition so am hoping to wrap it up with a solid series.”

Another noteworthy entrant in the men’s shot is Corran Hanning (Wellington), who advanced his national F12 U17 shot record with a best effort of 11.74m in the first Spring Series meet.

Watch out too for 2018 Youth Olympic Games champion Connor Bell, who will look to impress in the discus circle. The 19-year-old Aucklander currently leads the world U20 rankings following his mighty 67.40m effort in Christchurch in March and, after recording victory with a best of 64.78m at the opening Spring Series, he is clearly in the mood to produce another top-quality display.

Fresh from her world record-breaking feats in the F37 shot at the first Spring Series meet on Sunday, Lisa Adams returns to competition in her secondary event, the women’s discus. Adams (Waikato Bay of Plenty) is also a class discus thrower and currently heads the world rankings in the F37 division – boasting a personal best of 29.22m.

Another leading name on show will be world, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games javelin silver medallist Holly Robinson. The F46 thrower from Otago has been one of the mainstays of the New Zealand para squad in recent years and the 25-year-old will look to hurl the spear beyond the 40m mark.

Canterbury’s Lauren Bruce, who achieved an impressive 66.42m at the opening Spring Series event, returns to competition in the women’s hammer.

Meanwhile, Ben Langton Burnell (Manawatu), the 2018 Commonwealth Games representative and 82m thrower at his best, heads the entries in the men’s javelin.

You can watch Facebook Live streaming of the event on the Athletics NZ Facebook page.

Spectators will need to manually sign-in and are also encouraged to scan the QR code on entry. Spectators are to maintain 2m of physical distancing at all times. If you feel unwell, please don’t attend.

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