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Zoe Hobbs re-writes the record books at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships
Zoe Hobbs re-wrote the record books on day two of the 2023 Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Wellington today with a pair of awe-inspiring 100m performances which saw her lower her Oceania record and post her first sub-11 clocking.
The 25-year-old Auckland athlete began her unforgettable day by chipping 0.01 from her Oceania record time with a brilliant 11.07 (1.8m/s) in the heats – a mark which also qualified as a New Zealand record, New Zealand resident record, New Zealand allcomers record and the entry standard for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest.
Hobbs then returned to the track around six hours later to run a mind-blowing 10.89 to secure victory in the final and clinch a seventh successive national 100m crown.
Aided by a 3.4m/s tailwind the mark will not count as a record but was the fastest women’s 100m time in all conditions ever seen in New Zealand – quicker than the 11.02 (4.4) recorded by Jamaican Merlene Ottey when winning the 1990 Commonwealth final in Auckland.
Hobbs said of her performance: “I was a little surprised coming back from injury as I had a little interruption, so I didn’t expect to open the season that well, but they have been indicators in training. It was just a matter of putting it together in a race. To actually go out and run so well was awesome.”
“The performance in the heats gave me a boost of confidence and I thought I was capable because I finished that race just wanting to close the race down. It was running loose, so I knew I had a bit more to give in the final, I knew there was the capability for more.”
“To get the entry standard for World Championships does lift the weight of my shoulders and give me a little more freedom to enjoy running.”
Beyond the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Wellington, Hobbs intends to compete at the Sydney Track Classic (11 March), the Sir Graeme Douglas International Presented by Harcourts Cooper & Co in Auckland on 16 March and then conclude her Oceania season with the Brisbane Track Classic (25 March).
Behind Hobbs, Rosie Elliott (Canterbury) recorded 11.36 for silver with Veronica Shanti Periera of Singapore in 11.44 crossing the line in third. Brooke Somerfield of Waikato Bay of Plenty (11.51) claimed the bronze.
Tiaan Whelpton claimed his maiden New Zealand senior title with an emphatic victory in the men’s 100m, posting a time of 10.13 (5.2). Aided by a huge tailwind, the mark was the second fastest 100m time in all conditions of his career and it was a warmly received gold medal after he suffered the heartbreak of hamstring injuries in each of the past two 100m finals at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships.
Behind, there was first ever senior national medals for Auckland duo Dhruv Rodrigues Chico (10.31) and James Guthrie-Croft (10.57), who secured silver and bronze, respectively.
Running under protest Hamish Gill (Auckland) was later disqualified for false-starting.
“It was nice to finally put the 10.18 curse behind me, I’m happy with the win, although I was surprised it was as windy as a 5.2m/s,” said Whelpton.
Commonwealth shot put bronze medalist Maddi Wesche stepped up her performance level a notch or two for the 2023 campaign by winning a fourth senior national shot title by firing out to 19.13m – her longest ever throw in New Zealand and her second best competition performance.
The 23-year-old Aucklander went into the competition with a season’s best of 18.68m but four times went beyond that distance today with an excellent all-round series. In round one she popped out a 19.03m followed up by an 18.93m before her winning distance logged in the third stanza. She climaxed her competition with another 18.93m effort. Natalia Rankin-Chitar (Auckland), who later in the day secured the national U20 shot title with 14.51m, claimed a national senior silver courtesy of a 14.93m throw.
An elated Wesche said: “We’ve freshened up a bit for this comp, so it was good to get over the 19m line. I’ve mainly been working on technique with the hope that they stick in comps.
“I didn’t realise it was my fourth national title, I love competing in New Zealand. There is something about the New Zealand atmosphere.”
James Preston secured a hat-trick of national men’s 800m titles, edging a compelling tactical battle from Brad Mathas in a compelling showdown between the two-lap warriors.
Preston, competing on his home track, seized control of the race from the front hitting the midway checkpoint in around 55 seconds before biding his time, executing his winning kicking in the final 150m. Mathas, the eight-time champion, swung wide to mount his attack down the home stretch but Preston hung tough to win by 0.08 in 1:49.80. Dominic Devlin (Auckland) claimed a fourth successive national senior 800m medal in bronze (1.50.87)
Preston, who ran a slick 1:45.85 to defeat Mathas by 0.15 in Melbourne eight days ago, said: “This was the race I was most happy about it (this summer). It is great to have Brad back over, he has been one of the main guys for the past six to eight years. We have a good rivalry going. We are the top two New Zealand guys within a second of each other, so it is good for both of us.
“I ran the race exactly how I wanted. We’ve found that you can close as hard as someone but it is really hard to get around them, if you are behind them. I thought he (Mathas) might have a move down the back straight, but he waited for that tailwind.”
Wellington toasted the senior men’s and women’s 800m double after Alison Andrews-Paul claimed her maiden national senior title with a composed performance in the latter event.
Competing at her first national track & field championships for seven years, the Canadian-based Masterton-raised athlete controlled the race from the front and when she opened up over the final 200m she could not be caught, clocking a season’s best 2:05.01.
Jennie Hauke enjoyed a good run to upgrade on the bronze medal she won at 2022 nationals by taking out the silver medal in 2:06.32. Defending champion Holly Manning, who had a challenging build up after a bout of Covid, was rewarded with bronze (2:06.87).
Andrews Paul, who was delighted to run in front of friends and family, said: “I am stoked. To win here in Wellington is special having competed here a lot as a kid. Having been overseas for a long time, I’m grateful for the experience. I probably hoped it could be a bit quicker but a lot of girls could say that. That is championship racing. It was a great experience and I’m happy with a negative split.”
Commonwealth finalist Portia Bing secured a sixth successive national 400m hurdles title with a rock solid 57.12 in her first race over barrier in 2023. Bing, who posted her national 400m hurdles record of 55.44 at the 2022 edition of the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships, was pushed hard by French athlete Loan Ville who crossed the line in 58.76. Nonetheless, the 29-year-old Aucklander will be satisfied to extend her sequence of New Zealand crowns.
Jonathan Maples (Manawatu-Whanganui) claimed back-to-back national senior men’s 400m hurdles titles, achieving the feat with a PB of 54.05 to finish comfortably clear of 19-year-old silver medallist Cameron Moffitt (56.08m) of Otago.
Tori Peeters (Waikato Bay of Plenty) secured her seventh national senior javelin title with a season’s best effort of 60.60m. The Commonwealth Games fifth placer could not quite match her national record-breaking efforts of the 2022 edition of the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships, when she fired the spear out to a monster 62.40m effort. However, Peeters will nonetheless by satisfied with her efforts. Abbey Moody (Canterbury) with 45.19m secured silver.
Elsewhere in the field, Shay Veitch regained his national senior men’s long jump title with a quality series topped by a season’s best of 7.65 (1.1). The 22-year-old Otago athlete gradually improved advancing from 7.40m in round two through to 7.65m with his penultimate jump. He dethroned his fellow Otago athlete Felix McDonald, who nonetheless jumped well to secure silver with a best of 7.47m. Lewis Arthur (Auckland) took out the bronze with 7.23m.
Anthony Nobilo claimed a comprehensive fifth successive senior men’s hammer crown, uncorking a best for the day of 66.95m – his longest throw at a national championship. Todd Bates of Otago earned silver with 56.14m with Arno van Der Westhuizen (Auckland) grabbing bronze (51.53m) – just 5cm clear of 55-year-old 20-times former champion Philip Jensen (Wellington).
Double Paralympic medallist Danielle Aitchison blitzed to within 0.10 of her women’s national 100m T36 record mark as she struck gold in the women’s Para 100m final. Stopping the clock in 13.95 she claimed a percentage score of 97.56 within the world record to claim top spot ahead of Paralympian Anna Steven who clocked 14.15 (89.41%) to win the silver medal.
“I’m so happy with that time,” said Aitchison. “I’ve been wanting to get more out of my racing, so I’ve been going to meets in Christchurch, Wellington, Hastings, the Classics. It’s been good having that professional and elite level racing – against all the top-level athletes in New Zealand. Today though I got to race against Paras, and I got a good time, so I’m happy.”
Mitch Joynt T64 edged a tight men’s Para 100m with a slick 11.94 (88.86%) to shade Joe Smith T37 (88.52%), who clocked a time of 12.37 – aided by a windspeed just over the allowable limit of 2.1m/s.
Paddy Walsh was in record-breaking form in the women’s Para long jump, adding 18cm to her national record long jump T64 with a best of 4.17m (0.9).
On a proud day for New Zealand women’s sprinting, the next generation looks in good hands as Addira Collette defeated twin sister, Chayille in a photo-finish as both recorded an electrifying mark of 11.61 (+2.8m/s). Twelve months ago, Chayille collected the silver in the U18 event ahead of Addira but there was a reversal of positions today by the narrowest of margins.
Marielle Venida (Auckland) the defending champion took out the bronze (11.80).
National secondary schools 100m champion Tyrone Trego added the New Zealand U20 crown to his growing list of titles, recording 10.65 (3.6) ahead of Ben Lambert (10.86) in silver.
Candidate for most dramatic winner of the day was Grace Wisnewski (Waikato BoP) who survived a final hurdle mishap – which saw her trip and stumble to her knees – before bouncing back to her feet to secure gold in the women’s U20 400m hurdles in a handy 1:02.95.
James Ford, the 2022 New Zealand U18 800m and 1500m champion, cruised to victory in to bank the 2023 national U20 800m title in 1:54.83. The women’s U20 800m crown was taken out by Emma Ferguson (Manawatu-Whanganui), who set a PB of 2:10.21 to defeat Kiera Hall, the 2022 New Zealand U18 gold medallist (2:11.47).
Talia Van Rooyen (Auckland) successfully defended her national U18 100m title in a time of 12.10 (2.2) – 0.08 clear of Jorja Gibbons (Otago). In the men’s equivalent, Rylan Noome completed an impressive men’s U18 100m and 200m double by storming to victory in a PB of 10.73 (3.2) to beat Kadin Taylor (Auckland) by 0.03.
Suzie Kennelly (Auckland) went one better than in the women’s discus U18 yesterday to claim victory in the U18 shot, unleashing a best of 14.81m.
A final round throw of 49.28m by Percy Maka (Auckland) catapulted him to the top of the standings in the men’s U20 discus to deny Waikato Bay of Plenty athlete Harrison McGregor (49.09m) to the gold.
Elizabeth Hewitt (Wellington) successfully defended her national U20 hammer title, powering the implement out to 51.13m.
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