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Athletics New Zealand: IAAF World Champs Team Preview

Tom Walsh will defend his world shot put crown at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Walsh comes into the shot put ranked third this season with 22.44m, behind 2016 Rio Olympic Games gold medallist Ryan Crouser of USA with 22.74m and South American champion Darlan Romani of Brazil with 22.61m. Also in the men’s shot put is Jacko Gill, ranked 16th with 21.47m. In his last three competitions in Europe Gill has improved on his personal best on each outing. It is expected to be a close and exciting competition with the top eight athletes entered having gone over 22 metres this season.

Camille Buscomb competed at the last World Championships in London in the 5000m and 10,000m, and will return to the track in both events in Doha. Her best this season of 31:33.04 ranks her 16th coming into the 10,000m. Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, a former world junior cross country champion, heads the rankings with 30:37.89. The 29 year old three times national 5000m champion has a season’s best of 15:24.12 which ranks her 34th. Hellen Obiri of Kenya has the fastest time going into the event of 14:20.36.

World junior shot put champion Maddison-Lee Wesche will be seeking to continue New Zealand’s fine tradition in the women’s shot put. Wesche’s best of 18.32m from the Sir Graeme Douglas International meeting in March ranks her 18th in the event, led by defending champion Lijiao Gong of China with 20.31m.

Hamish Kerr has the potential to leap to a fresh New Zealand record in the high jump. The 23 year old equalled Glenn Howard’s long standing national record of 2.30m at the Oceania Championships in Townsville in June. Kerr goes into the competition ranked 19th – the leading athlete is Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus who has cleared 2.35m.

Quentin Rew, 12th at both the Rio Olympic Games and the 2017 World championships in the 50km walk, has proven he can improve on his ranking with his perfect pace judgement. Rew, who will be competing at his fifth world championships, is currently ranked 19th in the 50km walk with 3:49:48 and 54th in the 20km walk with 1:23:42. Defending champion Yohann Diniz of France has the best 50km time of 3:37:43 and Toshikazu Yamanishi of Japan leads the 20km walk with 1:17:15.

Gold Coast Commonwealth Games hammer throw gold medallist Julia Ratcliffe was outstanding at the Oceania Championships in June, qualifying for the Championships with a New Zealand and Oceania record breaking throw of 71.39m, which ranks her 23rd. DeAnna Price of USA, ninth at the last world championships is the current world leader with 78.24m.

Portia Bing who competed at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing in the heptathlon is back again but this time in the 400m hurdles. Bing set a New Zealand record of 55.86s at the Australian championships in April and comes into the event ranked 31st. Dalilah Muhammad of USA has a best of 52.20 this season.

Alana Barber, who scored the outstanding silver medal in the 20km walk at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games last year, has a best this season of 1:33:01, recorded at the Asian Championships in Japan in March. This ranks her 33rd coming into the event which is headed by Glenda Morejón of Ecuador with 1:25:29.

Zoe Hobbs will follow a successful season in New Zealand and Australia with a start in the 100m and 200m. At the Potts Classic meeting in Hastings in January, Hobbs set a fresh NZ resident 100m record of 11.37, which ranks her 44th. Heading the women’s 100m field will be world champion and double Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, who has clocked 10.73s this season. In the 200m Hobbs has a best of 23.19 ranking her 46th. Jamaican Elaine Thompson has a best of 22.00 and heads the entrants.

Interest will centre on Edward Osei-Nketia in the 100m and whether he can eclipse his father Gus’ New Zealand national record of 10.11, set at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada. The 18 year old has re-written the junior sprinting record books this year setting records over 100m and 200m in three age groups. His best 100m of 10.19 ranks his 45th. Christian Coleman of USA, who took silver at the World Champs in 2017, is the fastest with 9.81s.

Malcolm Hicks qualified for the marathon after his second placing in the German Dusseldorf marathon in 2:13:51 in April and Caden Shields was selected after running 2:15:36 on the Gold Coast in July. Hicks is ranked 41st and Shields 61st in a field dominated by Ethiopians in the top three. Mosinet Geremew, second in the London marathon, is the quickest with a time of 2:02:55.

At previous world championships New Zealand has won a silver and six gold medals. Beatrice Faumuina a gold in the discus throw in 1997, Valarie Adams a silver in the shot put in 2005 and four golds in a row in the shot put from 2007 to 2013 and Tom Walsh a gold in the shot put in 2017.

The Championships run from Friday 27 September to 6 October and have attracted 1928 athletes from 209 countries.

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