Outstanding javelin throw highlight of Central teams contest

The highlight of the second round of the Central region teams competition at Cooks Gardens in Whanganui on Saturday was Ben Langton-Burnell's 70.65m javelin throw.

His first 70m throw lifts him to 11th on the New Zealand all-time list.

Ben had an even longer throw measured at over 72m but overstepped so it was invalid. There are certainly some exciting times ahead for Ben who is putting the experience he gained on last year's European trip to great use.

The provisional results from this meeting saw the home club Whanganui narrowly head off Manawatu by six points.

Whanganui scoring 170 to Manawatu's 164 with Taranaki not too far behind on 144 points. Wairarapa were best of the rest on 99.

Gusty conditions saw the sprinters having to battle into a strong head wind which prevented outstanding times.

However, both Zac Topping and Taranaki's Zoe Hobbs were a class above their opposition, winning both the 100m and 200m quite comfortably.

Zia Macdermid showed experience way beyond her age, winning the women's 1500m in 4min 55.09sec then later ran a very good 800m. Stephanie Dickins was another to impress, winning the 300m hurdles but had to settle for third in the 400m. But she made amends with a brilliant last leg of the 4x400m relay, turning a 15m deficit at the last change into a comfortable victory. It would have been hard to compete at this level after the high of the previous evening.

Katie Neuman cleared a personal best 1.60m in the high jump for third place.

A newcomer to the club is Kultjez Singh who is a talented discus thrower, getting the discus out to 38.72m which rates him the fourth best discus thrower to compete for the club.

One of the big pluses from this meeting is giving some of our youngsters the chance to compete at a higher level as many compete against older athletes.

Looking at the results, Nina Heard had a good meeting coming second in her 100m heat, finishing just ahead of team-mate Courtney Story. She jumped 4.54m in the long jump but her most impressive performance came in the triple jump with her 9.67m effort placing her seventh in this open competition.

No doubt the Manawatu team will be keen to win the deciding meeting in this competition in two weeks.

■ Vanessa Story has just returned from competing in the Pan Pacific masters championships in Australia with a great collection of medals - two gold, two silver and a bronze.

She also had a personal best in the high jump and a 62.04sec 400m and is a great inspiration to the younger club members on and off the track.

As well as being a competitor, Vanessa is our secretary, club captain and always willing to officiate. She is one of three club officials travelling to Wellington this weekend to take part in a starters course.

■ It was great to see athletics to the fore at the Manawatu Sports Awards. Congratulations to Stephanie Dickins on being named Junior Sportwoman of the Year, Ashley Exeter on becoming the first Disabled Sportsperson of the Year and Paul Macdermid on being named Coach of the Year.

Athletics also had a number of finalists in the various categories. Ben Langton-Burnell and Andy Kruy were finalist in the Junior Sportsman of the Year category, Kara Macdermid in the Junior Sportswoman category, Vanessa Story in the Masters and myself in the administrators category.

Looking at the achievements of Manawatu sports people, it is quite an honour to be recognised.

I certainly do not envy the judging panel in comparing the achievements of the nominees from such a range of sports. Comparing the achievements of a team player against an individual or a long-serving official against a nationally-ranked umpire is an almost impossible task.

We congratulate the award winners but on a night like this, there are no losers. A great night celebrating Manawatu Sport.

■ What's on:

November 13: Palmerston North Athletics programme A, MCAT 5.45pm

November 17-18: Kahuterawa two-day classic

November 20: Palmerston North Athletics programme B, MCAT 5.45pm

November 21: Feilding Athletics, Timona Park. Te Kawau Athletics, Rongotea

November 24: Round three Central teams competition, MCAT 11.45am

Manawatu Standard