MEDIA RELEASE – ATHLETICS NEW ZEALAND
Friday 19 February
Sprinters to the fore at Capital Classic
The country’s leading two male sprinters, Eddie Osei-Nketia and Tiaan Whelpton, will go head-to-head over 100m at the annual Capital Classic meeting in Wellington on Saturday.
Whelpton sprung to prominence at last year’s Capital meeting by defeating Osei-Nketia by two hundredths of a second in 10.66.
In their match-ups so far this season, Whelpton surprised many by prevailing over his rival and friend again at the Potts Classic in Hastings while Osei-Nketia was back in the winner’s circle in Christchurch at the International Track Meeting over 200m, as well as triumphing last weekend in scorching conditions at the Porritt Classic in Hamilton.
Their much-anticipated clash could produce a sub-10.30 time and challenge the meeting record of 10.36, set by Joseph Millar in 2016.
Rosie Elliott, runner-up at last year’s nationals in both the 100m and 200m, and Natasha Eady, who has a best of 11.61, will fight it out in the women’s 100m.
After his outstanding debut over 400m in 47.72 in Hamilton last weekend, Hamish Gill will be having another crack at the one lapper. Rowan Blaikie, who ran a personal best of 48.86 in Hamilton, and national champion Luke Mercieca should give Gill plenty of competition to speed to a faster time. Daniel Dyet holds the meeting record of 47.28 from 2015.
Camryn Smart, who has improved her best over 400m since March last year from 55.24 to 54.67, will face Jordyn Blake, who has a best of 54.55, and 2018 national champion Brooke Cull, who has a time of 53.85 to her credit. Last year, Portia Bing won in a meeting record of 53.64.
Another exciting women’s 800m this season is in prospect with Porritt Classic winner Katherine Camp coming up against Rebekah Greene, who came in ahead of Camp to take the honours at the Potts Classic. They will be pushed by Susannah Lynch, Kara Macdermid and Sophie Atkinson.
Hamish Carson, fresh from his sub-14 minute 5000m in Hamilton, has moved down to the 1500m, in which he will take on Julian Oakley, Eric Speakman, Lovelock Classic mile winner Daniel Roswell, Benjamin Wall, James Harding and Tom Moulai. As it has only previously been the mile raced at the Capital Classic, there is no 1500m meeting record but meet organiser Tony Rogers has set the standard for a record of 3:43.05.
Joshua Hawkins, who has had five straight victories in the 110m hurdles since mid-March, will be looking to break James Mortimer’s 2006 record of 14.34.
Amy Robertson has gone unbeaten six times this season in the 100m hurdles and will race against Fiona Morrison and Hinewai Knowles.
Lauren Bruce will be seeking the big throw in the hammer that was waiting to come after her sixth-round effort of 73.22m at the Porritt Classic. Julia Ratcliffe, who is not competing this time, set the meeting record of 70.53m last year.
National champion Anthony Nobilo and Todd Bates feature in the men’s hammer throw.
Connor Bell, who has a best and resident record of 64.29m in the discus throw, will have a double incentive to aim for – the meeting record of 65.47m by Matthew Denny of Australia last year and Ian Winchester’s national record of 65.03m. Savannah Scheen is meanwhile down for the women’s discus throw.
Australian Brandon Starc has achieved the meeting record in the high jump twice and last year cleared the bar at 2.26m. Hamish Kerr has a best this season of 2.27m and, with the right conditions, could not only give the meet record a nudge but also improve on the New Zealand record of 2.30m that he shares with Glenn Howard.
The women’s high jump will also be well worth watching with the country’s leading jumpers Josie Taylor, Imogen Skelton, Keeley O’Hagan and Josephine Reeves all entered.
There will likewise be plenty of interest in the women’s pole vault, in which Olivia McTaggart will have her eye on Eliza McCartney’s meeting record of 4.30m from 2015. James Steyn, who cleared 5.50m in the pole vault at the 2019 Australian championships, has Nick Southgate’s record of 5.30m to aim for.
Para athlete Anna Grimaldi (T47) has re-established her New Zealand Para long jump record twice this year with jumps of 5.78m and 5.91m. In a field with Mariah Ririnui, Briana Stephenson, Lili Szabo, Zoe Taylor and Anna Thomson, she should have the backing for an attempt at breaking the six-metre barrier.
Scott Thomson will have his own meeting record of 14.88m from 2014 to aim for in the triple jump.
Reporting by Murray McKinnon