Top NZ walker has sights on Glasgow

00:33, Feb 02 2013
Lesley Cantwell
WALKING: Lesley Cantwell.

Te Anau's Lesley Cantwell has grabbed a hold of one of the more bizarre titles, New Zealand's quickest walker, but her walking ambitions isn't stopping at that.

Last weekend Cantwell attended the Capital Classic athletics meet in Wellington where she blitzed the field in the 3km women's walk winning by over three minutes.

In the process she smashed her own Southland record, which was 15min 13 seconds when Cantwell peeled off the time of 14min 48 seconds.

The victory meant she leap-frogged her closet rival, Rosie Robinson from Dunedin, into the No 1-ranked spot as far as women's walkers go.

The ranking has put the 25-year-old in good stead as she eyes next month's nationals in Auckland where she will compete in both the 3km and 20km walk, but it has also given her a boost in confidence in her quest for a bigger goal.

Next year she would like to compete internationally at a World Cup meet in China and possibly the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as well.


To get to China she would need to record a time of 1hr 45min, 10 minutes quicker than she has gone to date in her two races over 20km.

To get to the Commonwealth Games she would need to walk the 20km in 1hr 38min.

Cantwell is often spotted walking the streets of Te Anau at a great rate in her ramped up training regime of late.

Her biggest obstacle, she said, was finding a high level of competition to help her get better.

"It's difficult to get the races and that's the problem throughout New Zealand really," Cantwell said.

"And also the standards are dropping off. People just drop out at 20-21 when they're at uni."

Cantwell was one of many Southlanders who produced standout results at recent Classic meets throughout the North Island.

Jordan Rackham continued his Australian Youth Olympic Festival medal winning form back in New Zealand with a personal best in the mile at the Cooks Classic in Whanganui and 800m at the Capital Classic.

Also in Whanganui, Greer Alsop won the triple jump with fellow Southlander Jade Graham finishing second.

In Wellington Graham placed fourth with Alsop again winning.

Ffion Muhl's normal distance is 2000m, but she ran her first 3000m steeplechase in the Hastings Classic and finished second in a senior field. She followed this up by running a personal best mile at the Whanganui Classic.


Sylvia Potts Classic, Hastings: Deejay Kennedy 100m 11.39; Ffion Muhl 3000m steeple 12:29.15 (2nd); Tori Peeters Javelin 46.80 (1st). Cooks Classic, Whanganui: Deejay Kennedy, snr 100m 11.30; Ffion Muhle, open mile 5:28.07; Jordan Rackham, U20 mile 4:18.84 (4th, 1st U18); Gideon Barnard, open high jump 1.97; Jade Graham, open triple jump 10.69 (4th); Tori Peeters, open javelin 45.44 (1st); Greer Alsop, open triple jump 11,62 (1st). Capital Classic, Wellington: Rebecca Gibson, open 100m 13.25, open 400m 60.06; Deejay Kennedy open 100m 11.70, 200m 23.54; Jordan Rackham U18 800m 1:57.92 (1st); 3000m track walk, Lesley Cantwell, 14:48.86, (1st); Gideon Barnard open high jump 1.95; Greer Alsop, open triple jump 11.889 (1st), open long jump 5.27 (3rd); Jade Graham, open triple jump 10.55, open long jump 4.59; Todd Swanson, open triple jump 13.87 (2nd).

The Southland Times