Jumping to make an impression

LEAP OF FAITH: Central Southland College's Atipa Mobonga.
LEAP OF FAITH: Central Southland College's Atipa Mobonga.

What is it with Southland athletes and the triple jump?

Wellington jumpers Anna and Scott Thomson, along with father and coach Richard, are coming to Invercargill this weekend to find out.

Anna won the NZSS senior triple title two weeks ago and Scott is the second ranked jumper in the country, and both will be competing on Saturday at Surrey Park in the final Southland meet of the year.

Exclude Southlander Greer Alsop (in the United States) and Nneka Okpala (in Australia), and the Surrey Park competition will feature five of the country's top six women jumpers.

Anna will face tough competition from locals Atipa Mabonga, Rebecca Peterson and Jade Graham, Nos 3-5 in the country, along with top-ranked Charlotte Muschamp who is home on holiday from Washington State University where she is on an athletic scholarship with Alsop.

Mabonga and Peterson are both medallists from the secondary school championships.

Add promising young jumpers Sally Martin, Andrea McDowell and Lauren Brown to the mix and the competition promises to be intense.

The men's competition will also be tough with Scott Thomson facing past national champion Todd Swanson, No 3 on the national rankings, along with Sean Pay, Jared Greig and Regan Wilson, all ranked among the country's top 15 jumpers.

International standard jumping (five of the above have represented New Zealand) will not be the only highlight; the feature track race, the Joe Field Mile, will have rising distance stars Jordan Rackham and Jack Beaumont lining up.

Rackham won the NZSS senior 1500m and Beaumont was second in the steeplechase, and the pair have swapped wins throughout the winter over distance races.

NZSS hammer medallists Hinewai Collins and Ashley Craig, 100m hurdles champion and high jump silver medallist Patrick Taberner and javelin champion Laura Overton will also be worth watching.

The meeting starts at 2pm at the Surrey Park track.

The Southland Times