Above: Heptathlete Portia Bing high jumping in training for the 2015 Beijing World Champs at the NZL base in Saga, Japan
Eight New Zealand World Champs-bound athletes will compete at a meeting in Tokyo on Saturday against athletes from the USA, Australia and Japan leading up to the Championships in Beijing next week.
The New Zealand athletes have travelled from their training base in Saga in the south of Japan for the last hit-out before the 2015 Beijing World Championships which get under way in seven days.
Tom Walsh starts in the shot put. It is uncertain if the top American shot putters will be in action in Tokyo, but the Kiwi record holder, currently ranked sixth in the world is in the best form of his life and should acquit himself well. The team’s other shot putter Jacko Gill, ranked 19th has chosen to sit out the competition, continuing his training in Saga.
Angie Petty, who has moved up the world 800m rankings to eighth with her win at the World University Games in Korea last month will start in the 1000m, along with steeplechase specialist Rosa Flanagan, who will compete in the 800m as well.
Discus throwing training partners Siositina Hakeai and Te Rina Keenan line up in the women's discus, while Javelin thrower Stuart Farquhar, who arrived in Tokyo on Friday will compete ahead of his fifth world championships.
Michael Cochrane will contest the 400m hurdles along with Cameron French, who unfortunately missed out on an invitation from the IAAF for the championships by several ranking positions.
Heptathlete Portia Bing will be the busiest Kiwi, starting in the 200m, long jump and javelin.
Nick Willis and Julian Matthews, competing at the championships in the 1500m are flying direct to the Chinese capital from their respective bases in USA and Europe to join the team. Race walkers Alana Barber and Quentin Rew along with 1500m runner Nikki Hamblin continue their preparations in Saga.
The other New Zealand athlete competing in Beijing, masters athlete Liz Wilson, has had a very successful World Masters championships in Lyon, France winning the women’s 50–54 sprint double. Wilson will compete in an exhibition masters 400m race during the Beijing championships, a new innovation put in place by the IAAF.
The Tokyo meet starts at 6:30pm (NZ time) on Saturday.