Above: Tom Walsh competing at the 2017 NZ Track & Field Championships in Hamilton. Photo by Alan McDonald / Macspeedfoto.
Undoubtedly the highlights in the field at the Jennian Homes NZ Track and Field Championships in Hamilton this weekend will come from the performances of Tom Walsh and Dame Valerie Adams in the shot put. Both have put New Zealand on the map in international competition and are gearing up for the Commonwealth Games next month.
Walsh, straight from retaining his world indoor title, will be aiming for ninth straight shot put title and a fresh New Zealand resident record. Walsh holds the resident record at 21.80m and at the recent Porritt Classic meeting in Hamilton was out to 21.87m. Following on from his national record of 22.31m in Birmingham Walsh will also be aiming to erase Ryan Crouser’s all comers record of 22.15m. Wash will be in action at midday on Sunday.
Right in behind Walsh for a place on the podium are Ryan Ballantyne and Nick Palmer.
Meanwhile in her first competition since September 2016 Dame Valerie should make it title number 15 in the women’s shot put starting at 5:45pm on Friday afternoon. Victoria Owers has dominated the women’s shot put so far this season winning at both the Potts and Porritt Classic. Her best of 17.50m should ensure her a medal.
Maddison Wesche who has a best of 16.45m from the recent Australian championships will be defending her title won last year with 15.04m.
Siositina Hakeai five times national discus champion will continue her rivalry with Te Rina Keenan who won last year with 56.51m to Hakeai’s 55.04m. Lauren Bruce and Tatiana Kaumoana complete the top line up in the discus.
Julia Ratcliffe has returned from an injury and intensive rehab for the Commonwealth Games and should achieve her fourth hammer throw title. Nicole Bradley the defending champion and three times previous winner was out to 66.07m at the Potts Classic and will challenge Ratcliffe. Lauren Bruce second last year should secure a medal again.
Tori Peeters, Laura Overton and Stephanie Wrathall will battle it out for the top placings in the javelin throw. Peeters won in 2012, 2014 and 2015 while Overton took the title in 2016.
Kelsey Berryman should make it three years in a row in the long jump, Anna Thomson three years in a row in the triple jump and Olivia McTaggart will line up for her first senior pole vault title. Keeley O’Hagan winner in 2015 should regain the high jump title.
Like Walsh Marshall Hall will be shooting for his ninth discus throw title, Matthew Bloxham and Australian based Warren Button will go head to head in the hammer throw. Bloxham winner for the last three years had only his second competition this year with a throw of 60.79m last Saturday and Button third in 2015 and runner up to Bloxham in the last two years was out to a personal best of 60.86m at the recent Australian championships.
Ben Langton Burnell should retain the javelin throw title from Alex Wood and Cam Robinson. Interestingly sixteen times national champion Stuart Farquhar in entered.
Jesse Bryant will feel some pressure three times previous champion Matthew Wyatt in his defence of the long jump title. Also competing are 2015 champion Jordan Peters, twice under 18 and twice under 20 champion Hamish Gill, five times previous champion Brent Newdick and Rogan Ross who had a recent personal best of 7.27m in Brisbane.
Ebuka Okpala is expected to secure his third straight title in the triple jump. Trying to deny him will be Matt Walsh and Scott Thomson runner up for the last four years.
Hamish Kerr will be defending his high jump title against seven times champion Billy Crayford, Max Attwell and Sean Pay.
Nick Southgate will be aiming for his sixth pole vault title. James Steyn, Ettiene Du Preez, Jack Henry and three times champion Brent Newdick should make for an interesting competition.
World youth and junior championships representative and Oceania under 20 and senior shot put champion Maddison Wesche will be defending her junior shot put title.
Connor Bell will highlight the under 20 field events in the discus throw. He is entered in both the under 20 and under 18 events. This season Bell has set New Zealand records of 65.63m in the under 17 and under 18 and 57.03m with the 1.75kg discus in the under 19. His next target is the under 20 record of 58.80m held by Mark Robinson since 1979.
Ryan Ballantyne is down for the shot put, Anthony Nobilo in the hammer throw, Cam Robinson in the javelin throw and Matt Walsh will contest the long and triple jumps.
Kayla Goodwin who won the New Zealand under 18 heptathlon championship with a New Zealand under 17 record has entered the javelin throw, long and triple jumps and she is also in the under 20 triple jump.
Jayden Williamson with a personal best high jump of 1.98m last month will be seeking the two metre barrier in the under 20 high jump.