World Indoor Stars Return For Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships

Published: Wed 13 Mar 2024 11:03 AM
Hot on the heels of the euphoric success of the New Zealand team at the World Athletics Indoor Championships the 2024 Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships at Newtown Park, Wellington takes centre stage from Thursday-Sunday 14-17 March as the sport aims to further build on the momentum gained from a glittering performance in Glasgow.
With eight of the ten-strong team in Scotland, which claimed two gold and two silver medals and two fourth places and swept to a remarkable third on the medals table, entered to compete in the capital, the marquee event in the domestic track and field calendar is one of the most keenly anticipated national championships in living memory.
World Indoor silver medallist Tom Walsh competes in the capital with a point to prove after relinquishing his long-held grip on the national title to Jacko Gill 12 months ago. Gill, who earned his best ever finish at a senior global championships by placing fifth in Glasgow, will present world-class opposition but Walsh is in a determined mood to capture what would be a record equalling 14th national shot title to match the record of New Zealand throwing icon and entrepreneur Les Mills.
“I’m in good shape and I’m looking forward to capitalising on that to reclaim my national title,” said Walsh. “I had a good time competing indoors, but I didn’t feel like I really got hold of one.
“I’m looking forward to dropping some bombs for anyone that wants to come along and watch. As one of the marquee athletes it is really important to come back and compete in front of the New Zealand fans.”
The competition is further bolstered by the presence of Walsh’s training partner, Nick Palmer, who last month become the third male shot putter in New Zealand – after Walsh and Gill – to throw 20m.
World number two Eliza McCartney provided one of the most heartwarming moments of the World Indoor Championships when claiming silver to secure her first international podium since 2018 following years of injury toil and the 27-year-old Aucklander is relishing the prospect of further underlining her excellent form in the capital.
“I’m super excited to back competing on home turf after competing overseas for a couple of months,” said McCartney, who has a season’s best of 4.84m. “It will be special be to back in New Zealand competing in front of a home crowd for one last competition this summer.
“I’ve got a lot of motivation to jump while things are going really well. I’m looking forward to what Wellington might bring, and I hope we have lots of people out to support us.”
McCartney, who is gunning for a fifth national title from 2pm on Saturday (16 March), competes against 2022 Commonwealth bronze medallist Imogen Ayris.
Among the other names entered include World Indoor gold medallist Hamish Kerr, who takes to the track hunting a ninth national men’s high jump title from 3pm on Saturday. Kerr entered a new realm by leaping a world leading and national record height of 2.36m in Glasgow and he will start one of the warmest favourites across the four-day programme.
Zoe Hobbs set a national 100m record at the 2023 edition of the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in the heats – before registering a stunning windy 10.89 in the final – and the Auckland sprint sensation will be seeking to add an eighth successive New Zealand 100m crown on her return to Newtown Park.
Hobbs was in dazzling form at the World Indoor Championships, where she posted an Oceania record of 7.06 to place fourth in Glasgow. The women’s 100m will be run as a straight final at 5.20pm on Friday (15 March).
Maddi Wesche, the World Indoor fourth place finisher with a PB of 19.62m, will be hunting a fifth senior national women’s shot title, fuelled by a new confidence and belief after producing an outstanding display at the Emirates Arena. Wesche takes to the shot circle from 5.30pm on Friday.
Home athlete James Preston, who set a New Zealand Indoor 800m record in Glasgow, will start a heavy favourite to defend his national men’s 800m crown in the final – which takes place at 7pm on Friday. Tiaan Whelpton, who competed over 60m at the World Indoors, returns to New Zealand hunting back-to-back national men’s 100m titles. The heats take place at noon on Friday followed by the final at 5.30pm.
Note, World Indoor 1500m champion George Beamish and World Indoor 1500m finalist Maia Ramsden have been given a special dispensation not to compete at the 2024 Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships because both are US based.
Other big names set to compete across the four-day event which comprises open, Para, U20/U18 and U16 divisions include World Championships semi-finalist Sam Tanner in the men’s 1500m (heats on Saturday from 3.55pm and final on Sunday at 12.35pm) as well as national record-holder and Diamond League Final podium finisher Tori Peeters in the women’s javelin at 2.25pm on Saturday. World Championship finalist Connor Bell will look to defend his national men’s discus crown from 9.15am on Sunday.
Paralympic champions Lisa Adams shot put F37, Anna Grimaldi long jump T47 and Holly Robinson javelin F46 will also be in action across the four-day programme as well as Para World 200m T36 champion Danielle Aitchison, who has threatened world records in both the 100m and 200m this season.
To follow the livestream coverage of all four days of action go here
To follow the live results go here
For a full schedule go here
For full start lists go here
For tickets to the 2024 Jennian Homes Track & Field Championships go

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