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Gill Defeats Walsh And McCartney Clears 4.70m In Wellington

Jacko Gill. Photo credit: Alisha Lovrich.

New Zealand superstar athletes fresh off their record-breaking achievements at World Athletics Indoor Championships put on a show at a sun-bathed Newtown Park as shot put duo Jacko Gill and Tom Walsh served up a titanic tussle and Eliza McCartney showcased her recent resurgence to take home a fifth national senior pole vault title.

In the men’s shot put, Jacko Gill inflicted defeat on World Indoor silver medallist Tom Walsh by a 6cm margin to claim a second successive senior national title courtesy of a best toss of 21.57m

With both athletes fatigued after their recent extensive travel schedule, it was perhaps a little understandable that both were not at their absolute best, but the pair still put together a typically competitive battle with Gill’s second round toss marginally superior to the third round effort of Walsh, the 13-times national shot champion.

Nick Palmer (Hawks Bay Gisborne) claimed the bronze medal for the third successive year with a best put of 19.23m.

Gill said: “I got a little lucky today it has been a long season for us with the travel. My mum and dad weren’t there because of Covid, so it’s been a strange week. I’ve been throwing well around 22m but I’ve just kind of dropped off after World Indoors.

“My first throw of 21.36m helped the confidence and after that you just have to win the battle. Having Tom to compete against helps a lot.”

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Walsh said: “I’m not too unhappy. Jacko and myself have done a lot of travel for the past few weeks, and there is a bit of a come down after major championships. I obviously don’t like losing to Jacko but I’m petty happy with the result and how I moved in the circle today. I didn’t line one up, but I got pretty close to it.”

Eliza McCartney secured her fifth national title with a quality performance, popping over 4.70m at the first time of asking to offer further reassurance as to her current form.

The 27-year-old, who is back to her best under the guidance of coach Scott Simpson, secured the gold medal after a successful second time clearance at 4.51m before sailing over at 4.70m.

The Aucklander then raised the bar to 4.86m – a mark which would have bettered her NZ resident record, equalled the world lead and been the third best performance of her career. She missed out today, but two excellent attempts offered further evidence she could be all set for something very special in the months to come.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Imogen Ayris cleared a best of 4.39m to secure silver with Elaine Zhai rounding out an Auckland clean sweep of the podium courtesy of a PB of 3.69m.

McCartney said: “I was really happy with my 4.70m jump in particular, it has been a bit tough on the body coming from the UK and having travelled long haul and to keep going is challenging I wasn’t feeling great, so I was really pleased with the 4.70m and all the crowd support we received.”

Ethan Olivier climaxed his New Zealand tour in style by bounding out to a New Zealand resident record of 16.62m (+0.4) and championship record performance to bank the senior men’s triple jump title.

The 18-year-old clad 18cm on to the NZ resident record he set last Sunday at the Sir Graeme Douglas International presented by Harcourts Cooper & Co after delivering his best for the day with his fourth-round jump. His older sibling Welre claimed silver with 15.81m (-1.1) leap and Scott Thomson won bronze (14.60m) to collect his 15th national senior medal in the men’s triple jump.

Ethan, who came within just 5cm of his national record, said: “It was a good jump, it was a little bit chilly and windy but I’m happy. I was hoping to get the national record again but warming up I could feel I had a little bit of a niggle, so I was glad I got what I got.”

Demonstrating her current excellent form Portia Bing eased to the senior women’s 400m title to add to the 100m bronze she won 24 hours earlier here in Wellington. The four-times World Championships representative revealed her renowned strength in the latter half of the race to grab victory in 54.14 and claim a maiden New Zealand title for the distance. In a tight battle for silver the fast-finishing Jordyn Blake (Canterbury) shaded the verdict in a photo-finish from bronze medallist Camryn Smart (Auckland) – as both registered the same time of 55.42.

Lex Revell-Lewis, who six days earlier had come within just 0.03 of the national men’s 400m record with a sensational breakthrough performance at the Sir Graeme Douglas International presented by Harcourts Cooper & Co, backed up that display to retain his national 400m crown in a slick 46.56.

The 20-year-old Aucklander executed the second best performance of his career to strike gold ahead of 18-year-old James Ford who recorded a sizeable PB of 47.58 to finish just 0.08 shy of the World U20 performance standard. Liam Webb, the 2020 national bronze medallist, matched that accomplishment today in a time of 47.89.

A first round throw of 55.81m banked an eighth national javelin title for Tori Peeters (WBoP). While the two-time Diamond League podium finisher was not quite at her best, she was happy with the win ahead of France’s Jona Aigouy (50.79m) with Brianna Tirado in bronze (41.95m). Paralympic javelin F46 champion Holly Robinson fired the javelin out to 36.83m for eighth.

Earlier Robinson edged a tight women’s Para shot competition, flinging the 3kg shot out to 11.65m (93.42%) from World and Paralympic champion Lisa Adams (14.33m) who achieved 92.45% of the world record. For Robinson, the World Para silver medallist, it was another rock solid outing while Adams was satisfied with her performance after recovering from a recent bout of surgery.

Phoebe Edwards sailed out three time beyond her pre-event PB to land the senior women’s long jump title breaking the sand with an impressive best of 6.28m (-1.5). The 26-year-old who came into the competition with a PB of 6.10m three times exceeded this mark during an excellent series, which also included a 6.08m (-1.3) in round one, a 6.14m (-0.6) in the penultimate round and a 6.13m (-1.3) jump in the final stanza.

In a good quality competition, three-time former national champion Kelsey Berryman soared out to her best leap in six years of 6.18m (0.1) for silver with New Zealand heptathlon champion Maddie Wilson securing bronze with 5.90m (0.4).

Edwards a former national U20 champion in heptathlon, 100m hurdles and long jump, gave up the sport up four years only to make a “spontaneous” decision to return just two months ago. Believing she had the greatest potential in the long jump she has stunned herself with her progress.

Edwards, who now matches the lifetime best of 1952 Olympic long jump champion distance Dame Yvette Williams, said: “I felt like I wanted to jump as far as 6.28m but to do so here is awesome. Coming back, I have completely exceeded my expectation. I’m stoked. I’ve never won a senior national title which is awesome. I’m very excited and I’m definitely going to come back again next season.”

Tatiana Kaumoana with a class apart in the senior women’s discus retaining her national title from 12 months ago, with a best throw of 53.37m. Auckland duo Natalia Rankin-Chitar (48.67m) and Savannah Scheen (48.54m) reversed their finishing positions from the 2023 edition to win silver and bronze, respectively.

In the absence of World Indoor champion Hamish Kerr, Adam Stack led home a Canterbury one-two to secure the men’s high jump crown with a PB of 2.10m. Tia Wynard (Wellington) equalled his PB of 2.06m to grab silver on countback from Hugo Jones who mounted the dais in bronze.

In the U20 division, Kahurangi Cotterill smashed his PB to take out the men’s U20 400m title in a PB of 48.05 hunting down national U20 800m champion Thomas Cowan, who completed a memorable championship with a best a PB of 48.25. Amelie Fairclough was an emphatic winner of the women’s U20 400m, posting 55.81.

Caleb Wagener of Auckland completed the 1500m/3000m men’s U18 double, comfortably winning the latter event in 4:00.98. Imogen Barlow (Auckland) registered the feat in the women’s U18 division adding the 1500 crown in 4:36.27 to the 3000m title she grabbed on Thursday.

Twenty-four hours after snaring the national U20 400m hurdles crown, Madeleine Waddell captured the women’s U18 400m title storming to a comprehensive win in a huge PB of 55.95.

Hunter Scott completed the rare 100m, 200m and 400m treble in the men’s U18 division as the Canterbury athlete added the one-lap title to his glittering collection in a time of 49.31 PB.

The 2024 Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships concludes on Sunday with some of the star performers in action including Connor Bell in the men’s discus, Sam Tanner in the final of the men’s 1500m and Danielle Aitchison, who just two days ago set a world 100m T36 record, returning to compete in the senior women’s 200m.

© Scoop Media

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