The statistics around the numbers of competitors in a Commonwealth games year makes interesting reading:
CompetitorsTotal = 574
Male = 328 Female = 246
Senior (20+) = 218 Junior (18-19) = 137 Youth (13-17) = 219
Waikato BOP 54
Hawkes Bay Gisborne 12
1 x Olympic, Commonwealth, World & World Indoor champion
1 x World Indoor bronze medallist
1 x World Junior champion & record holder
4 x 2012 Olympic Athletes
3 x 2013 World Championship athletes 3 x 2014 World Indoor Championship athletes 3 x Commonwealth Games Medallists
116 x New Zealand Representatives from 2013
Fri 11.30am Men Pole Pascal Kethers
Fri 3.45pm 100m finals Millar et al
Sat 11.25am 400m finals
Sat 1.35pm Women 800m Nikki Hamblin v Angie Smit
Sat 2.00pm Women shot Valerie Adams Sat 3.15pm Men shot Tom Walsh v Jacko Gill
Sat 3.30pm Women discus Tina Hakeai
Sat 4.30pm Men javelin Farquhar v Langton-Burnell v Smalberger
Sat 4.35pm 4x100m relays
Sun 11.45am Men 400 hurdles Cochrane v French v O’Shea
Sun 12.35pm 200m finals Millar et al
Sun 1.50pm Women 1500m Hamblin v Smit v van Dalen
Sun 2.00pm Men 1500m Hamish Carson v Malcolm Hicks
Sun 2.40pm 4x400m relays
Sun 2.45pm Men Hammer Jensen v Tinkle
Milestones set to be achieved at National this weekend
A Number of major milestones are set to be achieved at the New Zealand Track & Field championships in Wellington this weekend.
World and Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams will be going for her 13th national shot put title and her 14th title having also won the hammer throw title in 2003. Adams will have had a further week to freshen for the championships after her trip back from Europe last week to compete in Melbourne last Saturday. She should be out over 20 metres and challenging her national championship meet best of 20.54m in 2011.
Adams will be competing on Saturday afternoon at 2.10pm at the Newtown Park Stadium in Wellington and will be followed by the men’s shot put final at 3.20pm featuring the clash of the Titans Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill. Walsh is currently riding the crest of a wave having won the bronze medal at the world indoor championships earlier this month and last week in Melbourne set a national outdoor record of 21.16m. Gill on the other hand has not competed this season but has put in some solid work outs and has been reportedly out to 20 metres in training. The 19 year old last competed with the senior 7.26kg shot in November 2012 at Waitakere where he was out to 20.05m and his latest competition was in August last year on the North Shore where he set a world junior record of 23.00m with the 6kg shot. The Glasgow Commonwealth Games performance standard is 20.60m for an A standard and 19.75m for the B. Walsh will also be defending his discus throw title on Friday afternoon. Four times champion Marshall Hall, Karlin Nelson and Hayden Hall should ensure a close and even discus competition.
Interest in the field events will also centre on Philip Jensen in the hammer throw and Stuart Farquhar in the javelin throw.
Jensen at 46 will be out to extend his already impressive list of statistics in the hammer event. Has the most titles in the same event at 19, the most consecutive titles at 16 and the longest span of 25 years, equal with Valerie Young, between his first title in 1988 and the title won last year. Jensen’s prodigy Ryan Tinkle should provide plenty of competition through out the six rounds, Tinkle having thrown 59.11m at the Christchurch international meeting last month and Jensen 59.67m on the North Shore last November. Matthew Bloxham who leads the year’s rankings with 60.91m will not be competing due to a knee injury.
Farquhar who has won the javelin title for the past 12 years will after title number 14 having also won in 2000. Ben Langton-Burnell and Johan Smalberger should be on the podium with Farquhar after the event.
Joseph Millar will be chasing the sprint double treble going for the 100m and 200m titles for three years in a row. His form this season indicates that this is achievable. An interesting entrant in the 100m is Joshua Billington a 17 year old who has opted for the senior race. Two weeks ago at the Australian junior championships the Perth based Billington equalled the New Zealand under 18 record of 10.56.
Mariah Ririnui will face a strong challenge in her defence of the women’s 100m title from Rochelle Coster and Zoe Hobbs. Coster who has four thirds and a second in 2012 to her credit is keen to finally claim a title and Hobbs showed great speed in winning the national secondary schools title in Hamilton in December.
Portia Bing last year’s champion will go head to head with Louise Jones and Fiona Morrison in the 200m with Jones having earlier contested the 400m against Kristie Baillie. Jones won the 400m in 2010 and 2011 with Baillie the 2012 champion.
The last track event during the morning session on Saturday, the men’s 400m final should be a cracker between Tama Toki, Daniel O’Shea, Daniel Dyet, schools champion Bailey Stewart (17), Alex Jordan champion in 2011 and 2012 and three times champion 2006, 2007 and 2008 Cory Innes.
The women’s middle distance running highlight should be the 800m with Delhi Commonwealth Games silver medallist Nikki Hamblin chasing a Glasgow Games qualifying time up against Angie Smit who will wanting to make it three years in a row for the title. Likewise in the men’s 800m Brad Mathas will chalk up his third consecutive title if he wins. Taking it to Mathas will be 2011 champion Michael Whitehead and Ben Anderson.
Hamish Carson, 2012 champion Julian Matthews, Daniel Balchin, Matthew Harris, Ben Moynihan, Malcolm Hicks and Matthew Russ should be amongst those racing over the final lap of the 1500m with Carson going for title number four.
Lucy Van Dalen will be defending her women’s 1500m title. A great race is in store with Hamblin, three times champion 2010, 2011 and 2012, Smit, Camille Buscomb and Katie Wright all vying for the honours.
Buscomb, the national 3000m champion in 2012 and 2013, should have the 5000m to herself on Friday afternoon as she chases a Commonwealth Game qualifying time of 15:32.
Malcolm Hicks is also knocking on the door of qualifying for Glasgow in the 5000m and he will race against Callan Moody, Jono Jackson and 17 year old Jacob Priddey.
Fiona Morrison should successfully defend her 100m hurdles title as should Zoe Ballantyne in the 400m hurdles. Interest in the 110m hurdles will be just how much more Joshua Hawkins can cut off his personal best time, which is now down to 13.97.
Sunday morning will see one of the best 400m hurdles finals in the history of the championships with Michael Cochrane just hundredths of a second off qualifying for Glasgow up against arch rivals this season, defending champion Daniel O'Shea, Cameron French and Peter Callagher.
Michael Banks will be up against defending champion Daniel Balchin in his bid to win his first 3000m steeplechase title. Rosa Flanagan who won the 3000m title in Christchurch last month will be a cut above the rest in the women’s 3000m steeplechase and will have a Games qualifying time of 9:51.00 in her sights.
Michael Parker has a good chance of securing a unique piece of championship history if he wins the 20km road racing walking championship. The 60 year old first won the title in 1978 and if he wins he will hold the longest span of 36 years between titles. However Graeme Jones will be defending the title to the bitter end and it will be interesting to see how the younger Matthew Holcroft handles the longer distance. Parker, the current 3000m walking champion, is also in the shorter event against Holcroft.
Brothers Matthew and Phillip Wyatt will be defending their respective jumping titles. Matthew in the long jump and Phillip in the triple, where a close contest is expected with Scott Thomson and the 2011 and 2012 champion Todd Swanson.
Billy Crayford will want to make it six in a row in the high jump, and should scale the heights with Jordan Peters during the event. With Nicholas Southgate’s absence due to injury, and Pascal Kethers also under an injury cloud, the men's pole vault has lost a lot of it's gloss, but Kethers may contest the junior event.
Liz Lamb and Sarah Cowley will resume their rivalry in the high jump, Lamb going for three years in a row against Cowley who won in 2010 and 2011.
Eliza McCartney should win the pole vault, while Mariah Ririnui last year’s champion, twice champion Cowley and Portia Bing will be the leading contenders in the long jump. Australian based Nneka Okpala should make it four years in a row in the triple jump while Siositina Hakeai is after three straight titles in the discus throw. Nicole Bradley is set for another title in the hammer throw while in the javelin throw 2012 champion Tori Peeters will be competing against Stephanie Wrathall and Amanda Murphy.
Courtney Ruske is up against the defending champion Roseanne Robinson and Kate Newitt in both the 3000m track walk and 20km road walk.
It has been a significant year for athletics with the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow in July/August and the World Junior Championships in Eugene Oregon in July still to go and those on the cusp of qualifying for selection will have this as an added incentive at these championships.