2014 National Track and Field Championships
We are now less than a month away from the National Track and Field Champs and with most of the season behind us we should have a pretty good idea of the some of the rivalries to watch and perhaps some of the new names to keep an eye out for.
What are peoples thoughts on the following:
Best one-on-one match up at the Champs?
Rising star likely to surprise?
Aging star back for some action?
Best race to watch?
For More: Athletics NZ Championships Page
It’s not very insightful to note the Walsh-Gill showdown (throwdown?) but it’s got to be the biggest story of the national champs this year. I know nothing about shot-put but I’m excited enough to get along and watch. I really like the way Walsh has competed so regularly this year and, not once but three times, laid down the challenge – and said he’s not going to be the understudy, but the star.
Huge pressure on Gill now to respond. I really hope this develops into an enduring back-and-forth rivalry that we get to watch for several years (North Island vs South Island, heir apparent vs usurper, teen sensation vs hard-working builder… So many great story lines).
The race I’m interested in is the SM steeplechase. For self-interested reasons – because I want to run it. But it is also shaping up as a good race. The three favourites have almost identical PBs – Banks (9:19) Currie (9:19) and Balchin (9:22). Balchin, with his awesome run at the Capital Classic, looks like the class runner in the field and should be capable of much faster than his PB, but he’s got to contend with the race starting just quarter of an hour after the 1500 final. Currie has the fastest time but I can’t find any recent results for him in the AthNZ database, so is a little bit of an unknown, and Banks looks like the safest bet.
This is shaping up to be an excellent nationals. I hope the weather will be conducive to excellent performances. While my interest is in the track events, I must say I am excited to see the Gill vs Walsh competition. I hope that Gill qualifies for the Commonwealth Games regardless of whether he finishes first or second, as it will make the event a fantastic spectacle for the Kiwi public. Looking forward to seeing all the media interest at the track (for a change).
- This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by Andrena Patterson.
And of course our very own Hamish Carsen in the 1500 metres.
Daniel Balchin is entered for the – 5000m, 1500m and steeples. 4 distance races in 3 days is a mammoth effort, especially backing up for the steeples 20 minutes after the 1500m final.
The return of Cory Innes to 400m running is another one for me. After a very very lengthy injury lay off (achilles) it will be awesome to see him take it to the young guns and try to win another 400m title.
Look out for Ben Anderson in the 800m too. Rumour has it he has been training this year.
Balchin is one of about nine who are running both the 5000 and the 1500. It will be interesting to see if that affects the tactics in the 5000. Will any of those nine want to push the pace, knowing they have got another 1-3 races still to come. Will the other half of the field see an opportunity there? Why does this race have to be during work time! Rees, are you going to be there with your camera?
Steve, we do plan to have camera’s rolling, however we are looking for another helpful person who may be able to offer some time to film races throughout the weekend as we are down one cameraman. For a person who can help for a few hours on Friday there is a weekend entry pass in it for you – PM me!
I am also looking forward to seeing how Daniel goes in the three events, as he is capable of medaling in the 5km and winning the steeple. I guess we’ll have to wait to see if he runs all three and how the 15 comes off in the middle.
It is great to see some good races likely in the Men’s and Women’s distance events despite Angie, Nikki, Camille, Brad, Hamish and Malcolm going in as favourites across their key events. There will be some scalps up for grabs, but we’re also likely some stars showing their class – Wow, even I think that sounds like fence sitting.
As a distance runner at heart it is also cool to see some excitement building in a variety of disciplines including the Mens Shot, 400H and HJ that we haven’t seen in recent years.
I am definitely bias when stating this but I think most will agree that the womens 1500m is a great race.
The race may have Camille (4:13), Angie (4:11), Nikki (4:04) and Lucy (4:05) all racing each other. If that is the case there are a few cool stats/potential outcomes.
It will mean
– The NZ all time number 1 and 2 are racing
– A 4:04/05 athlete will not win the national title
– At least 4th place (potentially lower) will have a pb of 4:13 or better
– There will be at least two women (potentially 3) who have represented NZ at a major championship in middle distance who do not win the title. Also the medal stand will have 3 NZ major reps or potentially a major rep may not be on the stand.
Also there are a number of women which have run very fast to add to the mix. Katie Wright (4:18), Rosa Flanagan (4:18) and Lydia O’Donnell (4:22).
This has the potential to be one of the best female 1500m championships in a very long time, if not the best NZ 1500m championship ever.
Some great racing today.
Was cool to see Corey Innes take on his 400m heat down the back straight five years after his last title, unfortunately being the first to miss the final on time!
The Men’s high jump had 6 over 2.01 and 4 over 2.05 I think.
Great run from Joseph Millar and the WaiBOP team in the Men’s 100, and awesome to see so many young sprinters taking on NZ’s best senior women.
The 800m finals are looking like some great action and the atmosphere around the Shot Put will be electric with the expected crowd tomorrow.
I am uploading the footage that Keegan and Bethany Millar have kindly been capturing for us all down at the track and have been getting to watch a few races at the same time.
In the Youth Men 100m Final there was a kid DQ’d, for what appears to be, moving his knees – harsh!!
I thoroughly enjoyed the three days of excellent track and field. Apart from being on gate duty and watching with delight all of the spectators gladly paying money to come and enjoy the best of what is to offer, my personal highlights are as follows:
- W800mts. Seeing Smit and Hamblin flying around two laps of the track in just over 2.01 was outstanding given the blustery conditions. Being up close meant that I was able to personally experience how fast these athletes were going: impressive!
- The crowds. Weren’t the crowds fantastic in terms of size and enthusiasm. Generally meetings in NZ are pretty boring (apart from ITS) but this was certainly a step up. There is still room to improve though! (On another note, I am curious on whether gate takings were significantly up from previous years.) Hamish Mackay TV 3 Sports Presenter certainly highlighted this at the end of TV 3’s Sunday Sports News where W1500mts was profiled as the final sports item (do watch on replay).
- The media hype. While I felt for Gill/Walsh and others who were highlighted, as it must have put more pressure on them, it certain appeared to capture the heart of sports newsrooms across the country, and overseas.
- The commentary. Rees Buck and Roger Robinson were very informative and had lovely speaking voices. Shame about the sound system dying on the last day. Perhaps a new or improved sound system is needed before next year.
- Online Stuff. ABZ online updates and ability to purchase online tickets prior to the event is certainly a step in the right direction. I was on the gate for periods and there were many people who purchased on-line tickets. Further, the ability to pay by eftpos meant that significantly more programmes were sold: “just add $2 gets you a gorgeous glossy programme”. Perhaps the next step is to move to online stream, even if for the significant finals only. Instead of the Australian Tartan Couch, we could have a kiwi one (or a cleverer term from a clever marketing type). This would increase the hit rate on ANZ website and increase the domestic and overseas profile of our athletes, and particularly our youth athletes .
- The number of youth athletes. Fields appears strong across the board but there was a noticeable drop in numbers in the junior grades for many events. Is it considered a F grade if events go to straight final? Just putting it out there.
- The Carson/Mathews tussle in the home straight. Very exciting. And of course the 400mt final – French beats Cochrane. Again outstanding.
- Qualifiers and records. We must celebrate Gill’s qualifying throw and the junior girl’s javelin? record. Please correct me there if I am wrong. I presume that Gill will be selected as the media appear to be assuming it.
Areas to improve:
Shame Wishbone were unable to make coffee on the second day due to running out of water. The food was excellent. Long coffee cues but then on a normal NZ T & Filed Champs Year, two providers would have been fine.
Would have been nice to hear more live interviews of winning/significant athletes after their events. But I guess time is in issue what with fitting in medal presentations. This is not crass; it is informative and varies the daily offerings.
Just my personal thoughts on a well run event.
Sharon’s photos from the champs are available here: https:[email protected]/sets/
And they’ve been up on Facebook for a little whole too.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0cm;”>Steeplechase doesn’t normally get a classy field. Most top athletes rightly focus on other races. So it was great to see not just three good quality steeplechasers but also a very close race between all three last week. To have them all run close to their best best on a windy day in a tactical race, stay neck and neck until the last lap, and finish within two seconds of each other was something special.</p>
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0cm;”>I didn’t see the final dramatic steeple, as I was about two steeples back, but I really feel for Thomas Currie. I guess that’s the nature of the race is sometimes you take a gamble on speed over precision and its doesn’t always pay off. I hope he’s recovering after that fall. I’m hoping for, and looking forward to a rematch between the three next year. In the meantime I’m also looking forward to the video when its up.</p>
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