News & Updates

19 March 2022 • Track and Field

Zoe Hobbs blitzes to Oceania Indoor 60m record at opening session in Belgrade

Zoe Hobbs (right) in action in the heats of the women's 60m at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by PEDJA MILOSAVLJEVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

In only her second ever indoor race, Zoe Hobbs blitzed to a stunning Oceania indoor 60m record of 7.13 to advance to the semi-finals at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.

The first of the five Kiwis in action over the three-day programme at the Stark Arena, Hobbs exceeded many expectations with the maturity of her performance as she claimed the third and final automatic spot in the third of six heats to progress to the next round.

Hobbs has enjoyed a stellar domestic campaign lowering the New Zealand 100m record on three occasions but given her paucity of indoor experience – she only made her debut on the boards last weekend in Munich recording a 60m time of 7.25 in a mixed race – it was an enormous challenge for the 24-year-old Auckland-based athlete.

However, showing huge composure she made a slick start out of the blocks and despite facing the pressure of US champion Mikiah Brisco in the adjacent lane she maintained her form all the way to the finish to take third and book her ticket for the next round.

Brisco claimed top spot in a personal best of 7.03 to advance fastest to the semi-finals with Swiss athlete Geraldine Frey in second also recording a PB of 7.11.

As a measure of the quality of Hobbs’ display, she qualified seventh fastest for the semi-finals and wiped 0.29 from the national record set by Leah Belfield only last month. The New Zealander also obliterated the Oceania record mark of 7.30 set by Australia’s former Olympic 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson.  

“My goal was to get through to the semi and although I was eying up the record I needed to focus on the race and execute,” she said. “I had the American (Brisco) next to me so it would have been easy to get quite overwhelmed and rush the processes, but I just had to focus on my lane.

“There was a false start (in which the Brazilian athlete Rosangela Santos was disqualified) which did make me more tentative and I found I rushed things a little bit. I know what I need to fix for the semi, but I’m really stoked with that time.”

Hobbs will line up in the second semi-final of the women’s 60m at 6.14am (NZ time).

It was also mission accomplished for Geordie Beamish the other New Zealander in action on the opening day in Belgrade as he eased through to the final of the men’s 3000m with a hugely impressive display.

In a race dripping with quality, the 25-year-old US-based Kiwi who this season has set New Zealand Indoor records over 3000m and 5000m, was happy to sit towards the back of the field during a slow first half of the race.

However, as the race came to the boil the former Whanganui Collegiate student, who was making his debut in the Black Singlet, unleashed his trademark turn of pace to quickly move into contention before powerfully accelerating from sixth with a lap-and-a-half to go through to second at the bell.

For the final 200m he looked in control as he crossed the line second in 7:51.71 to bank one of the four automatic spots for the final on Monday morning at 12.10am.

As a measure of the quality of the opposition he finished only 0.29 behind the heat two winner Selemon Barega of Ethiopia and he also took the scalp of Spain’s Adel Mechaal – the 2020 Tokyo Olympic 1500m fifth placer – who had to settle for fourth.

Happy to get the job done, Geordie was also delighted at the chance to compete against such a stellar field.

“I thought it would be cool to run against Barega, the Olympic (10,000m) champion. I’ve never really raced anyone of that calibre and I just saw it as a good opportunity. It was fun running the last couple of laps next to him – it was like I belonged in that kind of field.

“Once I hit that last 800m, the idea was to keep an eye on the guys in the top four. I made a move with maybe 300m to go, I made one move and made it stick.

“Putting on the Black Singlet for the first time was special and it was a really cool experience to be around other New Zealanders again. After five or six years living in the States it is all starting to feel pretty real.”

On the final Geordie said: “I am excited for it. I’m sure it will not as easy as the heats I will just rest up and be prepared for anything. There is a good chance it will a lot faster (than today).”