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Olivier siblings ignite record-breaking ITM

A slew of meet and stadium records, national Para records, plus a pair of New Zealand resident records tumbled as the strong international fields aided by the best domestic talent helped deliver an epic edition of the ITM – a World Athletics Continental Tour bronze level meet – in Christchurch.

On a head-spinning day of fantastic performances the Olivier brothers – Ethan and Welre – led the way by securingone-two in a high-class men’s triple jump on their first ever appearance as adult competitors in New Zealand.

The South African-based brothers, competing in their first competition on their four-meet New Zealand tour, performed with pride with Ethan, 18, winning the competition with an outstanding fourth round effort of 16.85m (2.5). This distance was in excess of his national senior record of 16.67m set in Brussels as was his third round 16.79m (2.1) however both jumps today were a shade over the legal limit for record purposes.

His elder sibling, Welre, 21, had to settle for second today with a best of 16.35m (3.0) in round six but had the consolation of taking out the 59-year-old New Zealand resident record of Dave Norris as his 16.33m (1.4m/s) leap was within the allowable windspeed limit.

Aiden Hinson of Australia, the meet and stadium record holder of 16.72m from the 2023 ITM, had to settle for third with a best of 16.25m (2.6).

While there will be a degree of frustration for Ethan, the 2022 World U20 fourth placer, he was delighted with how he performed on his New Zealand debut.

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Ethan Olivier said: “The wind was illegal on all my jumps (bar one), otherwise I would have the record today. Other than that, all was smooth, all was good. Glad I won today.

On his brother taking the New Zealand resident record, Ethan added: “It doesn’t bother me. He got the legal jump in. It would be nice if I had the resident record, but I’ve got other meetings (to compete at in New Zealand), so I’ll break it then.”

It was mission accomplished for Sam Tanner as he scalped more than two seconds from his previous 800m PB to lower the stadium and meet record of James Preston en route to an eye-catching victory in 1:46.14.

The 23-year-old athlete, who this season has secured both the national mile and 3000m titles, showed impressive speed to kick clear of Australia’s Luke Boyes down the home stretch and on his way to a confidence boosting victory – well under his previous two-lap best of 1:48.35 registered at the 2022 ITM. Boyes, who led for much of the final lap, had to settle for second in 1:46.74. Thomas Cowan – who has achieved the World U20 entry standard time - finished strongly to clock 1:50.26 in third.

Cooper Wightman, 16, of Selwyn AC also enjoyed a day to remember by destroying the New Zealand U17 record clocking a scintillating time of 1:50.46 in fourth. Wightman, the 2023 national U18 1500m bronze medallist, dipped well under the previous mark of 1:51.19 held by James Harding to prove the future of New Zealand middle-distance racing is rosy.

A delighted Tanner, who climbs to number eight on the all-time NZ lists for the 800m, said: “It good to have a hit out. The young Aussie boy (Boyes) is amazing, and I felt him push hard with 200m to go. I thought, man, I’ve got to go. The wind did me a favour and him a disservice (because he was leading for much of the second lap) but it is nice to have that competition over here.”

Nick Palmer became only the third Kiwi in history – after heavyweight duo Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill – to breach the 20m barrier in the men’s shot put – achieving the feat twice to ensure the 23-year-old thrower enjoyed an unforgettable day.

The Christchurch-based athlete, who trains alongside double Olympic bronze medallist Walsh, established control of the competition in round two with a 19.48m toss, before in round five a 20.06m ensured safe passage into the 20m club. Fuelled by the adrenaline of that throw, Palmer then added 1cm to that distance in the final round to claim a clear victory from Nathan Sulopo (16.14m).

The 23-year-old thrower, who went way beyond his previous PB of 19.76m at Potts Classic, said: “It’s a big relief. It feels like I’ve been pushing this for years now, so to it and do it at home is awesome. It is a big milestone. I’m over the moon.”

With Rosie Elliott, who set a national 200m record at the 2023 ITM, a late withdrawal from the women’s 200m due to a knee niggle, it was Japan’s Remi Tsuruta, the recently crowned Japanese 60m champion, who took out a thrilling victory from New Zealand champion Georgia Hulls. In a ding-dong battle Tsuruta finished strongly to clock 23.06 (3.3) one tenth of a second clear from Hulls.

Commonwealth finalist Ella Connolly of Australia grabbed third in 23.27 – 0.12 clear of New Zealand 400m hurdles record-holder Portia Bing.

Aided by a strong tailwind, World University Games 200m silver medallist Yudai Nishi in 20.55 (3.5) powered to victory from fellow Japanese athlete Jun Yamashita (20.78) in the men’s 200m. National 400m champion Lex Revell-Lewis showed his growing prowess over the shorter distance by clocking a slick 20.86.

The women served up a captivating high jump competition as Kiwi Imogen Skelton captured the meet and stadium record and added 1cm to her two-year-old PB with a best of 1.87m. Revelling in the high-quality field, Skelton enjoyed a perfect record up to an including her 1cm PB to claim victory on countback from Japanese champion Nagisa Takahashi – who also claims joint ownership of the meet and stadium record. Commonwealth Games representative Keeley O’Hagan placed third in a season’s best 1.84m.

Tomahiro Shinno, who finished eighth at the 2022 World Championships, captured both the meet (2.20m) and stadium (2.26m) records of Commonwealth high jump champion Hamish Kerr, to grab victory in the men’s high jump with a 2.27m clearance. Shinno, who was coincidentally born on the same day - 17 August 1996 - as Kerr, led home a Japanese sweep of the podium from Takashi Eto (2.24m) and Yuto Seko (2.20m).

Oceania record holder Lauren Bruce continued to build on her unbeaten 2024 campaign, by registering a season’s best of 70.59m to win the women’s hammer. The 26-year-old Oceania record holder fired her best for the day out in round three – just shy of her three-year-old meet record of 71.22m – to defy a strong international line up. Multiple-winning Belgian champion Vanessa Sterckendries secured second with 67.54m with the podium rounded out by Raika Murakami of Japan (60.51m).

“I’m relatively happy, although there is definitely a few more metres left out there,” said Bruce. “I thought the 70.59m could have gone a little further I’ve got a few more comps coming up, and I’ll get after it there.”

Shota Fukuka, the Asian bronze medallist, claimed a meet and stadium record of 67.31m to land top spot in the men’s hammer.

The sprint hurdlers revelled in near perfect conditions at Nga Puni Wai today to erase a heap of records. In the men’s 110m hurdles the meet and the stadium record was gobbled up by Japan’s Tatsuki Abe who impressed to record 13.71 (2.0) – 0.02 clear of his compatriot Tetsuro Nishi.

In a high-class event there was also joy for Josh Hawkins who chipped 0.01 from his New Zealand resident record, posting a season’s best time of 13.93. Hawkins was one of four men to dip under 14 seconds as Australia’s Tayleb Willis, the winner at the Maurie Plant meet last week, finished fourth in 13.96.

An elated Hawkins, who had survived a stay of execution after he had been given a red card for what appeared to be a false start only for officials to withdraw the red card, said: “I’m so stoked. This was the perfect set up (a strong international field) for a fast time. It is so good to have the boys come over. I just took the momentum from that.”

The overseas athletes impressed in the women’s 100m hurdles with Chisato Kiyoyama of Japan smashing both the stadium and meet record to record 13.21 (1.5) – 0.09 ahead of Aussie Abbie Taddeo. Victoria Rausch of Luxembourg breasted the line in third (13.54). All three podium dwellers dipped under the previous meet record of Anna Percy (13.77) and stadium record of Fiona Morrison (13.62).

Japan’s Taju Hongo was also in record-breaking mood lowering the stadium and meet record of Tiaan Whelpton as he flashed past the line to win the men’s 100m in a classy 10.22 (1.3). His compatriot Hiroto Fujiwara claimed second in 10.50 with national 400m champion Lex Revell-Lewis scalping 0.11 from his previous best to record 10.52 in third. Ebony Lane of Australia powered to victory in the women’s 100m, stopping the clock in 11.27 (2.5) ahead of Japan’s Mei Kodama (11.52) who finished 0.01 clear of Portia Bing.

Commonwealth champion Matt Denny put on a demonstration of throwing excellence to set a meet and stadium record of 65.79m to dominant the men’s discus. The Australian, who placed fourth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, three times fired the discus over 65m to land victory from the British duo Lawrence Okoye (63.30m) and Nick Percy (62.94m). In the women’s discus, Nigerian Ashley Anumba took out the stadium record with a best of 57.13m to edge top spot from Australian Taryn Gollshewsky (56.31m).

The women’s triple jumpers further underlined the quality of the meet as 2023 World Championships representative Maoko Takashima of Japan soared out to a best of 13.70m (1.9) to smash the meet record and stadium record. Australian Desleigh Owusu, the pre-event holder of the stadium and meet record, had to settle for second today with a best of 13.64m with her countrywoman Kayla Cuba – 5cm back in third.

Meet records and stadium records also fell in the women’s long jump as Elizabeth Hedding 6.50m (2.5) led home an Australian one-two from Samantha Dale (6.46m). Hedding’s second best of the day 6.48m (2.0) will be registered as the meet and stadium record mark.

Australia also finished top of the pile in the men’s long jump led by Chris Adcock, who claimed victory from Japan’s Hibiki Tsuha, with his one registered jump of 7.73m (2.3). Koji Fujihara of Japan in third (7.60m) with his second best leap of 7.54m (1.4) bettered the 14-year-old meet record of Jeffrey Thumath.

World Para shot F46 silver medallist Holly Robinson continues to head in the right direction ahead of the World Para Athletics Championships in Kobe and the Paris Paralympic Games by firing the 4kg shot out to a national record women’s shot F46 distance of 12.17m in round one. Robinson, the Paralympic javelin F46 champion, added 43cm on to her previous record mark and backed this up with a 11.86m toss in round two.

World Para 200m gold medallist Danielle Aitchison also impressed and was only denied a share of the 100m T36 world record and the outright 200m T36 world record by excessive wind speeds. In the former event, Aitchison crossed the finish line in 13.61 to match the mark of Yiting Shi but a following wind of 2.6m/s will exclude Aitchison from joint ownership of the record. In the 200m she ran a blistering 27.99 (3.0) well under Shi’s world record 28.17 but once again the Christchurch wind frustratingly puffed too much.

New Zealand mile champion Rebekah Aitkenhead stepped down in distance to defeat the two-lap specialists to claim a decisive win the women’s 800m in 2:06.53. Fresh off a sizeable 5000m PB in Melbourne last week she showed impressive speed to kick clear of the field midway down the back straight of the final lap and could not be caught. Former national 800m champion Holly Manning placed second in 2:07.39 – six tenths clear of Stella Pearless in third.

Two-time Olympic finalist Natallia Duco of Chile banked victory in the women’s shot with a best of 16.22m to edge a narrow 18cm win from Canadian Grace Tennant.

© Scoop Media

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