NEW ZEALAND TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
QEII STADIUM CHRISTCHURCH 26-28 March 2010
Day one Friday 26 March
Beatrice Faumuina made it New Zealand discus throw title number 17.
The 1997 world champion found the conditions not conducive for a big throw, but her winning effort of 57.54m was still nearly 20 metres clear of second placed Livvie Duggan of Waikato.
Faumuina said she would have preferred to have been throwing from the opposite end of the QEII Stadium.
“Today we got a tail wind which is a real disadvantage for discus throwers.
“Even though the conditions weren’t favourable for us today the fact that I could still meet the qualifying standard of 56m for the Commonwealth Games is good,” said Faumuina.
In each of her eight competitions this season Faumuina has bettered the 56 metres performance standard.
Kerry Charlesworth set four New Zealand records in the women’s 16 pole vault reaching up to four metres for the first time in competition.
The 16 year old added five centimetres to her own W19, W18, W17 and W16 record set in Auckland two years ago. She also achieved the A standard for selection to the World Junior championships in Canada in July.
Charged by her effort Charlesworth had the bar raised to 4.10m, but was unsuccessful in her three attempts.
“I was already a little bit tired and my concentration probably wasn’t up there,” said Charlesworth.
However Charlesworth was delighted in finally making four metres.
“I’ve done it in training, but it was good to do it in competition, lots of pressure off me now. I’ve been training hard and my coach Rob Mallinder got me where I am now,” she added.
Philip Jensen (42), silver medallist in the hammer throw at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, chalked up his 16th national title with a throw of 62.53m.
Jensen said that it is the best that he has thrown in three or four years.
“I picked up the hammer about eight weeks ago and it went pretty well, so I thought well I’ll keep going – I’ve been cycling and a bit of weight training, so when I picked up the hammer I didn’t fall apart,” said Jensen.
Jensen can’t tell how much longer he’ll keep going for the title.
“I’m in better shape today than I was last year and the year before that. I have a job that I’m sitting down all day, so it’s quite nice to have something to keep me motivated and to get outside. I don’t know how much longer though,” he said.
Marissa Pritchard set a personal best of 6.07m (+0.4) in winning the long jump.
Carl Van der Speck retained his senior men’s 100m title in 10.45s (-0.2) from James Dolphin and Craig Bearda who were both timed at 10.66s.
Van der Speck said that he didn’t get the best of starts.
“The start wasn’t the best, but the last part went according to plan. I kept a cool head, I knew the guys were there, I felt them there, and I just tried to maintain and do what I had to do and it paid off,” said Van der Speck.
Defending women’s sprint champion Monique Williams withdrew through an injury and illness, the 100m title going to Anna Smythe of Otago in 11.61m (+0.4).
Day two Saturday 27 March
Valerie Vili came out in cold conditions to win her tenth New Zealand shot put title.
Vili was consistent around the mid 19 metres range throughout her six throws, with the best coming in round four with 19.60m.
“The cold was no excuse for throwing like that, but I was pretty happy to put out title 10 and pretty happy to be here, last I was here I threw over 20 metres, so always a great place to compete here in Christchurch.
It has been a tough couple of weeks for the Olympic and World champion since returning from losing her world indoor title in Doha Qatar to Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk.
“I obviously didn’t get the performance I wanted today. The last couple of weeks have been pretty tough coming back from Doha and then having to deal with a family funeral and stuff like that,” said Vili.
“All in all considering the situation, I’m pretty proud. I still came out and managed to get all throws over 19 metres, I mean I can’t ask for more than that, except to come out here and compete at nationals as I know it is very important for New Zealand athletics.”
Vili said that she was pleased to get ten straight titles.
“Pretty good given that I’m still only 25. I came and did my job. I’ll take a break next week, then I’ve got three comps overseas, in Thailand, Shanghai and New York in May June and the Diamond League. Then looking forward to the world cup and the Commonwealth Games in October.”
Vili was over five metres ahead of New Zealand heptathlon champion Rebecca Wardell who was second with 14.29m.
Another athlete to excel in the shot put was 15 year old Jacko Gill from Devonport in Auckland who shattered the New Zealand M19 and M18 record with a performance of 19.92m. This added over a metre to the record just set a week ago by Tom Walsh of Timaru.
National decathlon champion Brent Newdick won three titles taking the 110m hurdles, the long jump and the pole vault.
New Zealand records were set by Julia Ratcliffe who improved on her W16 record in the hammer with a throw of 54.97m, and Michael Cochrane who equalled James Mortimer’s M19 110m hurdles record of 14.22s.
Nikki Hamblin claimed her first New Zealand title on becoming a New Zealand citizen last year. Hamblin who has been injured for most of this season was having her first race and raced away with the 800m in 2m 9.59s.
Hamblin said that she was pretty nervous going into the race.
“My preparations have not been good. It’s my first track race since the world champs last year and I didn’t know how my legs were going to go. I know that I have weaknesses so I was waiting for someone to do something, Demelza tried and I was able to hang on to her and still have the strength to come through and kick at the end,” said Hamblin.
“I’m pretty pleased as it’s my first national title after being in the country for three or four years now.”
Alex Jordan of Tasman clocked an outstanding 47.01s to win the M19 400m against a class field. Louise Jones after a decade of competing captured the women’s 400m title in 55.51s while Tim Jones also won his first title in the senior 400m in 48.43s.
Day three Sunday 28 March
Jacko Gill improved on his M16 record with the 5kg shot sending the ball of steel out to 20.88m.
The rising star of field events, who also holds the New Zealand M16 discus throw record, comes from a great back ground in the sport with his father Walter the national discus champion in 1975 and shot put champion in 1989 and his mother Nerida winning the national women’s discus title in 1990.
Gill said that the secret to his success was hard work.
“Just lots of training and hard work, I just train really hard every day,” said Gill.
The world junior championships in Canada in July and the world youth Olympics in Singapore in August are next on the horizon for Gill.
“My long term goal would be a medal at the Olympics or Commonwealth Games,” he said.
In the meantime it’s back to a winter build up for the competitions later in the year. He also has his eye on the junior world record of 22.70m held by a Polish athlete before he turns 17.
Nikki Hamblin, who ran with distinction at the world championships in Berlin last year, won the women’s middle distance double with power packed final kicks in both the 800m and 1500m. She won both races last year but was unable to take the titles being an expatriate from Great Britain. However having gained New Zealand citizenship last year Hamblin was the proud recipient of the titles and the gold medals.
Hamblin has not raced this season having to overcome a hip injury sustained in January.
But with a solid period of training over the past month Hamblin raced away with a time of 4m 22.14s in the 1500m.
Hamblin said that she played the waiting game in the 1500m.
“I wondered if anyone was going to take it out and try and take my kick out of me. Fiona Crombie went out pretty steady and made it honest. I pretty much waited till 100m to go. My coach Chris Pilone said when you kick make sure you can kick all the way to the line, don’t slow down,” said Hamblin.
Hamish Carson, coached by John Walker’s coach Arch Jelley, won his first title in the 1500m. He outpaced a tight bunch over the final lap to win in 3m 51.19s.
James Dolphin made a comeback to regain the senior 200m title. Dolphin ran the final bend strong and held out the 100m champion Carl Van der Speck down the final straight in 21.03s.
National decathlon champion Brent Newdick added the triple jump to the three titles won on Saturday. Stuart Farquhar claimed his tenth national javelin title with a throw of 78.07m.
Andrea Koenen of Auckland forewent the opportunity to defend her W19 sprint titles and duly won the senior women’s 200m in 23.84s.
Julia Ratcliffe further improved on her W16 record in the hammer with a throw of 56.68m to win the W19 title. Leesa Lealaisalanoa improved on her W16 discus record to 51.41m.
Lealaisalanoa said it was awesome to get a personal best in almost the last event of the championships.
“I’ve been waiting to get a personal best for ages, and getting this record and the title is so much – I’m so happy.
“I wasn’t expecting to get three gold medals at all, I was hoping for maybe one but three is totally beautiful,” she said proudly displaying the three medals around her neck.
“I hope the A grade throws I have had this season will get me to the world juniors,” she added.