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Future Stars take Development Awards

International Track Meet – Media Release

“Future Stars take Development Awards”

Wednesday 27th February, 2013 For immediate release

The International Track Meet announced today that the annual $250 Development Grants - awarded for meritorious performance by developing athletes - have been presented to miler Ben Moynihan, and local 3000m runner Rosa Flanagan. Both athletes were rewarded for strong performances against international competition at the meet, held earlier this month on the grass track at Christ’s College in front of an enthusiastic crowd of over 3000 +.

Flanagan was one of the standout performances of the meet, at just 17 years of age, taking third place in the Brian Taylor Memorial Womens 3000m behind European junior medallist Susan Kuijken of the Netherlands and NZ Olympian Lucy van Dalen. The pace set by the two internationals was frenetic, but Flanagan, the national championships silver medallist in this distance last year despite being only 17 at the time, stuck to her task well and was rewarded with the excellent time of 9min37sec.

The Brian Taylor Development Grant was a new award last year, created as a permanent annual tribute to the memory of Christchurch coach and administrator Brian Taylor, who lost his life in the February 2011 earthquake, which also caused the cancellation of the 2011 International Track Meet. Taylor was perhaps best known in coaching terms for his work with female athletes, some of whom competed in the ITM in either the Fountaine Design Women’s 800m won by Australia’s Zoe Buckman, or in the Memorial 3000m event also carrying Taylor’s name, that honoured all victims of the February quake.

The Nick Willis Development Grant has been awarded annually since the meet began in 2009, and the inaugural winner Brendon Blacklaws of Wellington has gone on to success on the university circuit in the USA, at Willis’ own alma mater in Michigan. The 2010 winner, Daniel Balchin of Otago, competed against Willis and the other international stars in the New Balance Men’s Mile this year, while last year’s recipient Brad Mathas followed last year’s success by winning the national 800m title the following month, and was defeated in this year’s Kalamazoo 800m by England’s Sam Petty, by a margin of just 1/100th of a second. Olympic silver medallist Willis, a driving force behind the inception of the meet itself following his medal success at Beijing in 2008, has always seen this award as an integral part of the development pathway for young athletes provided by the meet.

Moynihan, like the previous recipients, is one of a strong contingent of young middle distance runners starting to follow in the footsteps of Willis, and of the likes of John Walker & Peter Snell before him. He ran strongly in the New Balance Elite Mile to finish 4th, after going with Willis and the pacemaker in the early laps, before being picked off in the final lap by Hugo Beamish and Alex Parlane. Aucklander Moynihan, the current NZ Junior 1500m champion, also represented New Zealand at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona last year. He lists Willis as his inspiration, and hopes to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

Event organisers were delighted to be able to announce Moynihan and Flanagan as recipients of these awards, and hope to see them use this as a springboard to further success. “We’ve seen some great examples of developing athletes coming from here and progressing to international success, which is exactly what we’re trying to achieve for the sport and the athletes” said trustee Paul Coughlan.


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