Commonwealth Games squad athletes to compete at NZ Championships in city

Dame Valerie Adams will be one of the contestants at the national track and field champs in Hamilton next week. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Dame Valerie Adams will be one of the contestants at the national track and field champs in Hamilton next week. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Athletes from the New Zealand Commonwealth Games squad will be competing at Hamilton's Porritt Stadium at the 2018 Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Champs next weekend.

Starting from Friday, March 9 until Sunday, March 11 the championships will be a chance for athletics fans to see most of New Zealand's top athletes competing just four weeks out from the Gold Coast Games in April.

Friday afternoon will see the sport's most decorated athlete in action, Dame Valerie Adams, twice Olympic Gold medallist, four times World Champion, and heading to her fifth Commonwealth Games will contest the women's shot put at 5.45pm.

New Zealand's fastest man, Joseph Miller, who set the championships alight in Hamilton last year with record runs over 100m and 200m, will contest the 100m final around the same time and discus throwers Marshall Hall and Siositina Hakeai have targets to reach to make their Games selections unconditional.

Holly Robinson, Rio Paralympic medallist in the javelin, will also be competing on Friday afternoon.

On the Saturday, both New Zealand's Commonwealth Games 800m athletes, Brad Mathas and Angie Petty, will be racing in their respective finals mid-afternoon, while Hamilton hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe who won silver at the previous Commonwealth Games in Glasgow four years ago will be competing.

Sunday will be full of exciting action with current world champion shot putter Tom Walsh throwing at midday, along with Olympic pole vault medallist Eliza McCartney at 1pm. Also competing in the women's pole vault will be Games team member Olivia McCartney, while men's pole vaulter Nick Southgate is competing at 10.30am.

Javelin thrower Ben Langton Burnell who trains in Hamilton is another Gold Coast-bound athlete competing on Sunday at 11.30am.

Local Hamilton athlete Cameron French, one of the last to qualify for the Games, also fronts on Sunday in the 400m hurdles, while Joseph Millar will be back in action in his favoured 200m.

Almost 600 of the best athletes from around the country will be in Hamilton for the three day championships. While for some, the championships provide a pathway to the Commonwealth Games, for hundreds the event will be the pinnacle of their season.

One of New Zealand's oldest sporting competitions, with over 100 years of history, the national championships provide a great chance for spectators to see top-class athletics and to see some of the world's best athletes in action.

The Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships run from Friday, March 9 until Sunday, March 11 at Porritt Stadium, Hamilton, with competition beginning from 9am daily.

Entry for spectators is $15 for adults and $5 for children 16 and under, with adult three day passes available for $35.

- Hamilton News

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