A number of meeting records look certain to be set at the Team Ledger Harcourts Capital Classic meeting at Newtown Park in Wellington on Friday evening, such is the calibre of those entered.
New Zealand’s Edward Osei-Nketia should continue his winning ways in the 100m as he closes in on a Tokyo Olympic Games qualifying time of 10.05. He equaled his New Zealand under 20 record of 10.19 with a wind assisted performance at the Sir Graeme Douglas International on Sunday. With competition from Cody Wilson, Dominic Overend and Tommy Te Puni, Osei-Nketia should better the meeting record of 10.36 set by Joseph Millar in 2016.
Zoe Hobbs should repeat her record breaking sprints at the meeting last year in the 100m and 200m. She produced records of 11.42 in the 100m and 23.52 in the 200m. Hobbs will be challenged by Rosie Elliott in both races. Elliott from Dunedin has best times of 11.68 and 23.59 from late last year.
Portia Bing, Doha world championships representative, on current form should erase the women’s 400m hurdles meeting record of 57.19 held by Rebecca Wardell since 2003. Bing who has a best of 55.86 is chasing a Tokyo qualifying time of 55.40. Bing will also race over the 400m flat against Annalies Kalma.
Nick Willis will follow up his victory over 1500m on Sunday with a start in the 800m. There will be heats and a final in the 800m with Michael Dawson, James Harding and Mikael Starzynski also expected to make it through to the final. Harding at 16 was outstanding at the Porritt Classic in Hamilton two weeks ago setting a New Zealand under 17 record of 1:51.19. It will take a strong run from Willis to break the meeting record of 1:48.42 set by Alex Rowe of Australia in 2017.
Julia Ratcliffe will be looking for the extra 15cm to qualify for Tokyo in the hammer throw. At the Porritt Classic, on home soil, Ratcliffe set a New Zealand all-comers, resident and national record of 72.35m, agonisingly close to the Games qualifying mark of 72.50m. Julia will be up against Alexandra Hulley of Australia, who won silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games behind Ratcliffe, and 2017 US National Champion Gwen Berry. Also competing is the meeting record holder Lauren Bruce with 56.19m in 2016 and five times national champion Nicole Bradley.
Tori Peeters who has gone from strength to strength this season in the javelin throw, improving on her national record twice within nine days with 59.25m in Canberra an 62.04m in Sydney, will be seeking another big throw. As Peeters closes in on a Tokyo qualifier of 64.00m the meeting record of 46.77m set by Keisha Grant in 2008 is sure to be rewritten. Orie Ushiro of Japan who has a best of 59.16m and Ashley Pryke of Canada with a best of 57.47m will add to the excitement of the event.
The men’s discus throw is shaping up to being an interesting battle with New Zealand’s Connor Bell and Alexander Parkinson up against Jordan Young of Canada who was second at Porritt and has a PB of 62.76m. Mitchell Cooper of Australia who has a best of 63.98m, Jordan Roach of USA and Yuji Tsutsumi of Japan will also compete. Shaka Sola holds the meeting record of 58.82m set in 2005.
Ryan Ballantyne will be seeking that elusive 20 metre throw in the shot put.
Angie Petty who holds the meet record of 4:20.75 for the women’s 1500m will face her regular rival Katherine Camp over the distance. Camp was third over 1500m in Melbourne and won at the Porritt Classic with Petty second. At the Sir Graeme Douglas meeting Petty was second in the 800m and Camp was fourth. Also competing in the 1500m are Kara Macdermid, Rebekah Greene and Maiya Christini.
National champion Oliver Miller lines up with 2015 Oceania champion Michael Cochrane and national junior champion Daniel Parkes in the 400m hurdles. Six times New Zealand 100m hurdles champion Fiona Morrison will be in action in the hurdles against national youth and secondary schools champion Hinewai Knowles and 2018 national junior champion Amy Robertson.
Four Australians Nik Bojic, Zachary Hayward, Brandon Starc and Joel Baden will match heights in the high jump. Starc is the Commonwealth champion with a PB 2.32m on the Gold Coast in 2018 and Baden a Rio Olympian and Doha world champs competitor has a best of 2.30m.
Australian Nicola McDermott, bronze medallist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and who has a PB of 1.96m will highlight the women’s high jump. Twice NZ champion Keeley O’Hagan, national junior and senior champion Josephine Reeves and Emma Sutherland are also in the high jump, where the meeting record is 1.84m set by Liz Lamb in 2011.
Mariko Morimoto of Japan, the triple jump winner at the Sir Graeme Douglas International on Sunday, is down for the event again against Australians Erin Guy and Alana Macrow-Cain and former national junior champion Greer Alsop.
Olivia McTaggart will have her eye on the meeting record in the women’s pole vault of 4.30m jointly held by Melina Hamilton from 2005 and Eliza McCartney ten years later. Nick Southgate, who hold the men’s record of 5.30m from 2015, will compete in the men’s vault. Natsuki Yamakawa of Japan a 8.06m long jumper and second on Sunday, will compete against Lewis Arthur and three times national champion Matthew Wyatt.
The meeting which has a World Athletics permit D status for a number of the events, starting at 4.00pm with the women’s hammer throw and concluding at 7.35pm with a 4 x 400m relay.
Athletics New Zealand Correspondent