2020 South Island Championship's preview - 5th & 6th December 2020
Preview: 2020 South Island Championships
Nga Puna Wai, 5th and 6th December 2020
The Championships return after a 2-year hiatus. The opportunities it offers vary depending on the stage of the athlete’s careers. The grades for the two days are Open and Under-18.
Following their primary efforts on Thursday evening both Tom Walsh (SCAN) and Lauren Bruce (SCAN) will be looking for improved performances over the weekend. This duo, along with Hamish Kerr (COBU), have the incentive of the restarted World Athletics ranking system as motivation to excel and further influence their Tokyo prospects.
These athletes who are heading to Tauranga next week will use the competition as a final practice at preparation for the demands of Championship athletics.
Another bonus of this 2-session meeting is that athletes will have less time pressure than a normal Saturday and the running of heats and Finals in the short sprints should add more urgency to performances. Long Jumpers also face the need to perform in the first three rounds if they wish to take the chance to have 6 jumps.
Saturday features the Women’s Hammer Throw with Lauren Bruce, but additionally some of the country’s leading spin exponents are present. Mayce Ballantyne and Dyani Sheperd-Oates have travelled from Dunedin to compete with Heptathlete, turned Hammer Thrower, Lexi Maples (COBU).
The highlight on the track may be the Men’s 100m, with National Medallist; Tiaan Whelpton (COBU), scheduled to finally open his season after an injury break. For competitiveness, however, the Women’s version tops the Men’s with making the final being an achievement in itself. All the leading candidates of the season so far, Maia Broughton, Anna Percy, Jordyn Blake and Julia Burnham (all COBU) will all be strong contenders, with Rebecca Peterson (CANU), Anna Hayward (COBU) and Fiona Morrison (COBU) are also capable of upsetting.
The 400m, in all grades, will require timed finals due to the popularity of the event. This means that the final outcome based on times will only be known once the results of each pair of races are accumulated.
The match up of National 4 x 400m Gold Medallists, in the Men’s event, Louis Andrews and Nick Ash (both COBU), will be of interest as will the efforts of Elliot Nye (COBU) who is stepping out of his comfort zone over the long sprint distance.
Jordyn Blake and Anna Percy are the pre-race favourites in the Women’s 400m but Anna Hayward and Maia Broughton are more than able of causing an upset.
Sunday’s session starts with the 5000m where Andres Hernandez will be favoured in what should be good conditions for the event.
A Harvard Scholarship beckons Violet Perry, but her most imminent challenge will be trying to defeat World University Games representative Tatinana Koumoana in the Discus.
Tom Walsh should garner the greatest interest from spectators but his main opponent will be himself and his athletes desire to perform regardless of training status, rather than those in the field list.
As on the previous day in the Women’s 100m, the contenders for the 200m are the same, as will be the competition for places in the final.
The feature track race may be the Men’s 800m. The match-up between Daniel Roswell (CHAV) and Dylan Forde (COBU) could well push both to season’s best performances.
The Jumps events to watch include the Men’s Triple Jump, where National Champion Andrew Allan (COBU) has Canterbury Record-holder Matt Walsh opening his season against him. Ethan Gow will be hoping that the athlete, whose M18 Canterbury record he usurped, can push him to extend his season’s best.
Oceania Champion, Hamish Kerr, will be wanting to clear a 2.20m plus height to embellish his World ranking now that it is December. The contest between Claudia Knight (PTOC) and Jessica Hendren (NCAN) may also push both athletes to higher levels.