New Zealand’s 22-strong athletics team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games quest open their campaign in the early hours of Monday (July 28) morning. Steve Landells offers a day by day preview of the Black Singlet’s chase for Glasgow glory.
Afternoon session – 1.30-5am - Monday July 28
Six Kiwis are expected to be in action on the opening day of competition with half of them lining up in the men’s 5000m final (4.40am).
Leading the charge is Hamilton’s Ethiopian-based Zane Robertson and his twin brother, Jake. Zane appears to be rounding into form at the right time. The 24-year-old, who finished 14th in the 2013 World 5000m final in Moscow, climbed to fourth on the all-time New Zealand lists in both the mile (3:53.72) and 3000m (7:41.37) with a quality pair of performances in Ireland earlier this month.
Also entered is Nick Willis, who has enjoyed the majority of his international; success over 1500m, but who served notice of his ability over 5000m when setting a PB for the 12-and-a-half lap distance of 13:20.33 in May.
However, the Kiwi trio will face world-class opposition. England’s World and Olympic champion Mo Farah has withdrawn through illness but there is still world No.5 and 2014 World Indoor 3000m champion Caleb Ndiku of Kenya. Jake reached the 2011 World Championship 5000m final and also boasts excellent 5000m pedigree with a best of 13:15.54.
Also in action for New Zealand today are Commonwealth No.1 Tom Walsh and team-mate and rival Jacko Gill, the two-time world junior champion, in qualification for the men’s shot put (2.40am).
On a busy day for the throwers, US-based Kiwi Julia Ratcliffe will also look to successfully negotiate qualification in the women’s hammer (3.35am).
Medals Awarded Today
Men: 5000m, Marathon (Note, marathons take place 8pm-noon on Sunday July 27 NZ time)
Women: Marathon. Para-Sport Women’s Long Jump F37/38
Did you know? New Zealand has three times won the men’s 5000m (formerly known as the three miles) in Commonwealth Games history - in 1938 through Cecil Matthews and in 1958 and 1962 courtesy of Murray Halberg.
Morning session –- 9pm-12.45am - Monday July 28-Tuesday July 29
Kiwi duo Brent Newdick and Scott McLaren open their decathlon account with the 100m (9.07pm) long jump (10pm) and shot (11.25pm). Papamoa-raised Newdick boasts an excellent Commonwealth pedigree having placed fourth at the2006 Melbourne Games and also bagged silver in New Delhi four years ago.
Another Commonwealth silver medallist from four years ago, Nikki Hamblin (Cambridge) is in action in the heats of the women’s 1500m (11.20pm) where Lucy van Dalen (Wanganui), an Olympian for the distance, also competes.
Evening session – 6am-9.15am – Tuesday July 29
New Zealand will be hoping for a memorable night inside Hampden Park as the battle for medals are determined in the men’s shot (6.20am) and women’s hammer (6.05am). With 2013 World outdoor bronze medallist Dylan Armstrong of Canada absent through an elbow injury, Tom Walsh, New Zealand's breakthrough star of the year, will start favourite to win the men's shot title. He will expect to be pushed all the way by Auckland's Jacko Gill, who in Raratonga recently set a personal best of 20.70m. Watch out also for Canada’s Tim Nedow and Jamaica’s O’Dayne Richards.
Julia Ratcliffe will also (subject to qualifying) be chasing precious metal in the women’s hammer. The Princeton-based athlete and NCAA champion set a national record 70.28m in April and sits third in the Commonwealth rankings behind Canada’s Sultana Frizell.
McLaren and Newdick will complete their first day of the decathlon with the high jump (6am) and 400m (8.05am).
Medals awarded today:
Men: 100m, Shot-Put Para Sport Discus F42-44 100m T37
Women: 100m, Hammer, Para Sport 100m T12
Did you know? Should Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill both mount the podium in the men’s shot it will the first time New Zealand will have had two medallists in the same event at a Commonwealth Games since Tania Murray and Tracy Phillips took gold and bronze, respectively, in the women’s high jump at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games.
Morning session 9pm-2am - Tuesday July 29-Wednesday July 30.
Newdick and McLaren continue their decathlon bid with the 110m hurdles (9.02pm) discus (Group A 9.50pm and Group B 10.45pm) and pole vault (12.10am)
Evening session 5.30am-9.15am Wednesday July 30
Should Nikki Hamblin and Lucy Van Dalen have negotiated their first round heats, the pair will be in action in the women’s 1500m final (8.50am) in Glasgow. A shock winner of double Commonwealth silver (in 800m and 1500m) in New Delhi, Hamblin has suffered three seasons of injury woe but finally appears to have emerged from a tunnel of despair.
Encouraging 4:07 performances in recent weeks will have lifted her spirits, but she faces some powerful opposition led by Kenyan duo Hellen Obiri and Faith Kipyegon who are both ranked in the world’s top five this year.
McLaren and Newdick conclude their decathlon challenge with the javelin (Group A 5.30am and Group B 6.30am) and 1500m (8am).
Medals awarded today
Men – 110m hurdles, Hammer, Decathlon
Women – 400m, 1500m, 10,000m, Triple Jump
Did you know? Nikki Hamblin won double middle-distance silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, but the same woman – Nancy Langat of Kenya – defeated her in both events.
Morning Session - 9pm-11.30pm - Wednesday July 30
Three Kiwis are in action during the first session of the day as former heptathlete Sarah Cowley competes in the women’s high jump qualification (9.45pm). Cowley qualified for Glasgow courtesy of her 1.89m clearance at the Australian Championships – the second best height achieved in her life – but she faces strong opposition from 2010 Commonwealth bronze medallist Levern Spencer of St Lucia and teenager Eleanor Patterson of Australia.
The opening round heats of the 800m take place at 10.55pm featuring New Zealand champion Angie Smit and Nikki Hamblin, the 2010 Commonwealth silver medallist.
Evening Session - 5.30am-9.15am - Thursday July 31
Valerie Adams will start overwhelming favourite to seal a hat-trick of women’s shot put titles and match the accomplishments of her countrywoman Val Young (1958-1966 shot champion). Besides her good friend Cleopatra Borel (19.10m) of Trinidad no opposition is expected to come close to threatening the all-conquering Kiwi who will be seeking to extend her remarkable unbeaten sequence to 54 in Glasgow. The final starts at 7.40am.
Medals Awarded Today:
Men: 400m, Long Jump, High Jump
Women: 3000m Steeplechase, Shot Put, `Javelin, Heptathlon
Did you know? When Valerie Adams won Commonwealth silver in the women’s shot at the 2002 Manchester Games she was aged just 17.
Evening Session - 5am-9.15am – Friday August 1
Cantabrian Angie Smit and her countrywoman Nikki Hamblin will hope to have advanced from the first round heats and be in 800m semi-final action at 5.50am. Smit recently posted a season’s best 2:00.59 in Manchester, but faces top-class opposition led by reigning world champion Eunice Sum of Kenya.
Look out too for Auckland’s Siositina Hakeai who competes in women’s discus qualification at 6.45am. Hakeai is currently ranked No.4 in the Commonwealth and will be hoping to challenge for a medal.
Medals Awarded Today
Men -200m, 800m, 400m hurdles, Discus Para Sport 1500m T54
Women – 200m, 400m hurdles, Long Jump, Para Sport 1500m T54
Did you know? New Zealand has three times won a silver medal in the women’s 800m at the Commonwealth Games (1962 Marise Chamberlain, 1974 Sue Haden and 2010 Nikki Hamblin) but never the gold.
Evening session - 5am-9.30am – Saturday August 2
A dizzying night of action for the New Zealand team with up to 12 athletes potentially lining up to compete at Hampden Park.
Leading the way will be 2006 Commonwealth Games 1500m champion Nick Willis, who be looking to regain his crown in the heats of the 1500m (5.02am). Also in action over the metric mile will be his countryman Julian Matthews (Nelson) and Hamilton’s Ethiopian-based Zane Robertson.
Willis smashed his own New Zealand record with a stunning run of 3:29.91 in Monaco earlier this month, but will face a strong threat from Kenya led by 18-year-old Ronald Kwemoi, who finished third and more than a second ahead of Willis in Monaco.
In the men’s javelin, Stuart Farquhar (Hamilton) starts his qualification quest (Group A 7.40am and Group B 8.45am) seeking more precious metal after winning silver in New Delhi four years ago.
Four from the six-strong squad (Louise Jones, Katherine Camp, Kristie Baille, Portia Bing, Zoe Ballantyne and Brooke Cull) will feature in the heats of the women’s 4x400m (5.35am).
Dependent on qualification results; four Kiwis could potentially be in action in women’s finals - Angie Smit and Nikki Hamblin in the 800m at 7.45am, in the high jump (5.05am) Sarah Cowley and Siositina Hakeai in the discus at 5.15am.
Medals Awarded Today
Men: 3000m Steeplechase, 10,000m, Pole Vault.
Women: 800m, 100m hurdles, High Jump, Discus.
Did you know?
New Zealand are the most successful nation ever in the history of the women’s discus at the Commonwealth Games boasting five gold medals (two Val Young, two Beatrice Faumuina and one Yvette Williams).
Evening Session - 6am-9am – Sunday August 3
Up to nine New Zealand athletes could be in competing on the final night of athletics action at the 20th Commonwealth Games.
Leading the way will be – subject to qualification – Nick Willis in the men’s 1500m final (6.35am) as he bids to become the first man in history to regain the title. His compatriot Julian Matthews and Zane Robertson may also have advanced to the medal race.
Providing he’s progressed to the final Stuart Farquhar will be in action in the men’s javelin final, where among his chief opposition could be Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad & Tobago and Kenya’s Julius Yego, who finished fourth at the 2013 World Championships.
The New Zealand women’s 4x400m quartet will have hoped to have advanced to the final (6.50am).
Meanwhile, Lucy Van Dalen will also be in action in the final of the women’s 5000m (6.07am).The Wanganui-raised athlete faces a top-class field led by World championship silver medallist Mercy Cherono of Kenya, who earlier this year climbed to No.6 on the all-time lists for the women’s 3000m in Doha.
Medals Awarded Today
Men: 1500m, 4x100m, 4x400m, Triple Jump and Javelin.
Women: 5000m, 4x100m, 4x400m, Pole Vault.
Did you know? In the 19 previous versions of the Commonwealth men’s 1500m (previously the one mile event) New Zealand has had at least one medallist in 11 editions.
Athletics New Zealand Commonwealth Games page