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Sprint King and Throws Queen take Development Awards

Sprint King and Throws Queen take Development Awards

Wednesday 26th March,

Media and crowd attention at last month’s International Track Meet was dominated by shot putters Valerie Adams and Tom Walsh, but in the background behind them two aspiring youngsters were taking great strides towards developing into international stars themselves.

The development awards, handed out each year to the best male and female development athletes, went this year to a pair of teenagers showing great promise in the sprinting and throwing arenas.

In the women’s events, the Brian Taylor Memorial Award, presented this year in conjunction with Carters Commercial, was hotly contested between many worthy contenders, all showing tremendous promise for the future. The judges decided on 16-year-old Lauren Bruce, a young hammer thrower from South Canterbury, who not only won her specialist event against all the senior athletes on Friday night at Rawhiti Domain, but backed it up with fourth place in the qualifying rounds of both the discus and shot, to finish second overall in the Peter Walsh & Associates women’s throws quadrathlon. She then rounded off a very busy weekend at Christ’s College Upper Field on the Saturday with third place in the Future Stars discus for secondary school athletes.

The men’s award, the Nick Willis Development Grant, went to 17-year-old Aucklander Bailey Stewart, who took a very creditable fourth place in a blanket finish to the 300m event, surrounded by the cream of New Zealand’s senior 200m and 400m sprinters. To be within half a second of athletes like Alex Jordan, Tama Toki, Dan O’Shea, and Cameron French, and to handle the pressure of the roaring ITM crowd, suggests that this young man has a very exciting future ahead of him.

Meet Director Craig Motley said today “the development of our future champions is a huge part of the purpose of the International Track Meet, and Lauren & Bailey are both very exciting prospects for the future of the sport in this country. We hope to see them progress their careers and keep coming back to the ITM for many years to come”.

Both athletes have been recently competing in New Zealand age group teams in Australia, and will return to NZ for the National Championships in Wellington this weekend.

-- Ends --

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