Greene shoots of promise
It was another mixed day for the New Zealand Junior Track and Field team at the World Championships.
The highlight was the NZ Womens 16 record for Dunedin’s Rebekah Greene (Jim Baird) as she sneaked into the 1500m final by a mere 8/100ths of a second with a time of 4 minutes 18.90 seconds. Greene sat just behind the fast starting African athletes and controlled her pace to be in 5th position at the bell. Finding herself betwixt and between along the back straight, she maintained her focus and resolve. A strong steady run through to the line, while the leading group battled for dominance ahead, was sufficient to gain the last qualifying spot for the final on the Sunday.
Greene broke Sue Bruce’s 29 year old NZ W16 record of 4m 21.18s.
Less fortunate was Hannah Newbould (Maria Hassan) running 4 minutes 19.71 seconds. She missed her chance to be a dual finalist when she failed to maintain contact with the leading pack during the third lap. Her isolated position made her vulnerable to attack from her rivals and she found herself unable to respond to the challengers as she raced down the final straight. While disappointed with the result she still leaves having finished 8th at this championships in the 3000m.
In another, literally, elevated performance, Elizabeth Lamb (Brent Booker) qualified for the High Jump final. Her 2nd round clearance at 1.81m was sufficient to comfortably finish 3rd in her pool and 7th overall. She overcame a mediocre warm up to clear all heights, leading up to her best, on first attempts. ‘Liz’ also has a two day wait for her final, competing on the last day of the championships. Also involved in the High Jump qualifying was one of the baby’s of the team. Keeley O’Hagan (John Turner) acquitted herself well in the large field of 31 athletes clearing 1.74m. Having cleared all heights on first attempt, she found 1.78m too great a barrier. Her first attempt was very close and had she been successful at this height on first jump, would have qualified for the final. Such is the close margins between success and failure in this event.
In the pole vault qualifying rounds Kerry Charlesworth missed clearing a height, being unsuccessful at her three attempts at 3.85m.
Michael Cochrane (Brent Booker) was at the track for his third day in a row. Having run two rounds of the 400m Hurdles he changed tack to compete in the 110m Hurdles. Michael was competitive in a fast field but his time of 14.28 seconds to place 6th in his heat means he can take a well earned rest for the next two days. It took him till half way through the race to really get into the sprint hurdles rhythm and by the time he responded the race was gone.
The final performer of the day was Glen Ballam (Lance Smith) who had waited longer than anyone in the team to compete so far. Running against athletes with Personal bests up to four seconds faster than him meant he faced an uphill task from the beginning. He worked to stay with the pace of the race but too much time spent in the second and third lane on his race travels meant that when a final kick was needed the tank was empty. His time of 1minute 51.96 gained him 7th place but still just over a second behind what was needed to progress to the next round.
There remains just three events left for the ‘Black singlet’ to show on this World stage.
Saturday has the 4 x 400m relay team contesting the heats, as well as Ayla Gill chasing a top 8 finish in the Women’s Hammer final and Rebekah Greene in the 1500m.
It is left to the team Captain, Liz Lamb and hopefully the 4 x 400m team, to bring the Championship to its conclusion on Sunday. The team may still prove to be our most successful Junior team ever, but confirmation will have to wait perhaps to the last event of the meet to be confirmed.