National 100m champion Edward Osei-Nketia will go head to head over 100m with five times New Zealand 100m and 200m champion Joseph Millar in what is expected to be the highlight of the annual meeting at Cooks Gardens Whanganui on Saturday evening.
They last raced at the Oceania Championships in Townsville in June in the semi-final of the 100m which Osei-Nketia won in 10.43 with Millar third in 10.82. Osei-Nketia went on to win the final in 10.34. Following the world championships in Doha in September Osei-Nketia next competed at the New Zealand secondary schools championships in Wellington where he went unbeaten in all four rounds of the 100m winning the final in 10.97.
Millar has had a good start to the season with wins in Hamilton in November in 10.68 and in Tauranga on New Year’s Day in 10.82. Osei-Nketia’s father Gus holds the Stadium record of 10.49 set at the 2000 Classic meeting.
Millar and Osei-Nketia will later compete over 220 yards in the Whanganui Sports Heritage Trust one mile medley relay where they will attempt to better the world record time of 3:30.6 for the 880yds, 440yds, 220yds and 220yds event set by a New Zealand Army team at Stamford Bridge England on 24 May 1919. It will also give other teams the opportunity of running under four minutes for the mile.
The New Zealand under 20 3000m championships are being held in conjunction with the Cooks Classic and a strong field has entered in the men’s championship. Local Liam Back will be looking to add another title to his already impressive list. The 18 year old last year won the national under 18 800m, 1500m and cross country titles and in 2018 the under 18 3000m title in his personal best time for the distance of 8:35.11. Last month at the school championships he won the senior boys 1500m and was second in the 800m.
Competition for Back will come from Andre Hernandez, Will Anthony, Ben Bidos, Liam Lamb, Benjamin Wall and Liam Chesney. Hernandez second in the under 18 last year has a best of 8:41.85, Anthony fourth under 18 last year has a best of 8:38.23, Bidois sixth last year was second at the school championships in his best time of 8:44.51, Wall has a best of 8:52.30, Lamb 8:52.61 and Chesney 8:52.36.
Those entered who are knocking on the door of breaking nine minutes are George Lambert, Andre Le Pine-Day, Max Erkes, Zach Bellamy and Ronan Lee. The Stadium under 20 record of 8:32.6 set by Terry Stone in 1980 could be threatened.
Aimee Ferguson second in the under 18 championship in 2018 in her best time of 9:55.42 heads the women’s championship. Also in with a chance of a medal are Jemima Antoniazzi, Samantha Corbett second in the under 18 race last year and the national under 18 steeplechase champion, Peyton Leigh, Krystal Clark and Maya Irving.
Hamish Kerr who set a Stadium record of 2.22m in the high jump last year returns to match heights with Marcus Wolton. Kerr has a personal best of 2.30m and Wolton 2.11m. Quinn Hartley who won all three junior boys jump titles at the school championships last month has entered in the high and long jumps.
The women’s high jump has attracted Josephine Reeves who set a New Zealand under 19 record of 1.86m last season and Josie Taylor who set a New Zealand under 17 record of 1.83m two months ago. Keeley O’Hagan who has a best of 1.85m should make it an interesting competition.
Georgia Hulls, Ashleigh Bennett, Tayla Brunger and schools junior sprint champion Sophie Williams are entered in the 100m.
Kayla Goodwin and Anna Thomson will renew their rivalry in the triple jump where they went first and second at the national championships. National junior champion Andrew Allan will compete in the triple jump. William Sinclair, Niam Macdonald and Kara Macdermid are the leading runners in the 2000m dash for cash, while Mikael Starzynski, Alessandra Macdonald, Tayla Brunger and Emma Douglass will compete in the 400m handicap.
Athletics New Zealand Correspondent