News & Updates

19 March 2022 • Track and Field

Zoe Hobbs performs with pride but just misses out on World Indoor final spot

Zoe Hobbs (left) competes in the semi-finals of the women's 60m at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for World Athletics)

Zoe Hobbs completed her 60m quest at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia by finishing an outstanding third in her semi-final but agonisingly just missed out on a berth in the final by 0.02.

The Kiwi sprint ace had earlier in the day smashed the women’s Oceania Indoor 60m record by clocking a scintillating 7.13 to advance seventh fastest from the heats after a stellar display in what was only her second ever indoor race.

Returning for a loaded semi-final featuring US champion Mikiah Brisco, the fastest qualifier from the heats, as well as 2018 World Indoor 60m bronze medallist Munjinga Kambundji of Switzerland, only the top two from each semi would automatically advance to the final with the two fastest non-automatic qualifiers across all three semis also progressing.

Running from the outside lane eight, the New Zealander did not quite get away to the same slick start as the heats but once she got into full stride, she finished like an express train to make up several positions over the final meters and claim third spot in 7.16 – a mark which after the second of three semi-finals sat in the second spot to advance on time to the final.

Brisco stopped the clock in top spot in 7.03 ahead of Kambundji (7.08) with Hobbs given the verdict for third in a photo-finish from Zaynab Dosso of Italy.

Auckland-based Hobbs, who originally hails from Taranaki, then faced a nerve-shredding wait watching the third semi-final to see if her time would be quick enough to advance for the medal race. Unfortunately, however, the third-place finisher in that semi-final Vitoria Cristina Rosa of Brazil set a South American record of 7.14 and so the Kiwi was dislodged from a final spot.

Nonetheless, given her lack of indoor experience it was a wonderful championship for the 24-year-old sprinter which bodes well for her future international challenges.

Hobbs, who has set a New Zealand 100m record three times during the domestic season, said: “It is hard not to be disappointed (not to make the final) but I think once I settle down, I’ll be able to put it into perspective and be happy with the overall performance.

“I did re-focus well after the morning heat and I warmed up quite well, but I just didn’t manage to execute that start.

“I felt like the girl in the lane next to me might have flinched and that might have thrown me a little, but I finished strongly so I can take that as a positive for what was only my third race ever indoors.

“I was running blind in lane eight and when I crossed the line, I had no idea where I had finished. I heard my name over the loudspeaker which I was shocked about because I thought I had finished further down the field than third.   

“Then I just had to play the waiting game. The third semi-final had a false start which added to the suspense. I then watched the race on a TV monitor for the athlete gear collection area – it was agony.

“Looking back, I’m immensely proud. I’m excited for the future and hopefully I can build on this performance.”

The next New Zealand athletes to compete at the World Athletics Indoor Championships are Olivia McTaggart, who competes in the women’s pole vault on Sunday from 6.08am and Tom Walsh, who is gunning for a hat-trick of World Indoor titles in the men’s shot put from 7.25am on Sunday.