Southgate out after cutting hand in pole mishap

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 06:27 22/03/2014
Nic Southgate
POLE WOES: Nic Southgate has provided the first hard luck story of the New Zealand athletes bidding for Commonwealth Games selection.

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Pole vaulter Nic Southgate has provided the first hard luck story of the New Zealand athletes bidding for Commonwealth Games selection after slashing his hand on a broken pole in Melbourne.

Southgate was set to line up in the IAAF's World Challenge meet in Melbourne today, but instead is recovering from surgery after the mishap while competing on Thursday night. Attempting the Games B standard of 5.35m, Southgate's pole snapped and he cut his hand, Athletics NZ confirmed.

Seventeen other New Zealanders, including shot put giants Valerie Adams and Tom Walsh, are scheduled to compete today. More than half have realistic chances of posting qualifying times.

Most interest will centre on the women's 1500m where 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Nikki Hamblin and 2012 London Olympian Lucy van Dalen both line up in pursuit of the B standard of 4:09.

Hamblin, the national record-holder (4:04.82), has a season's best of 4:10.01 and is still returning to peak fitness after an injury layoff. Van Dalen has also battled injury and hasn't run a competitive 1500m since the nationals a year ago, but lined up in the 3000m at the recent world indoor champs.

Athletics NZ require athletes who have already lined up at a major event to post two B standard or one A standard time to be nominated for Glasgow selection.

Those who haven't competed at an Olympics, Commonwealth Games or senior world championships require one B standard. The next chance is the nationals in Wellington, starting on Friday.

The women's high jump also holds interest, with Liz Lamb and London Olympic heptathlete Sarah Cowley each needing to improve 3cm on their season's bests of 1.85m to post a B standard.

Men's 400m hurdler Michael Cochrane, with a season's best of 49.72sec, is a top chance of posting a B standard of 49.70, while Cameron French (season's best of 50.39) is also in the frame.

Hamish Carson, in the men's 1500m, needs to improve just over 2sec on his season's best to reach the B standard of 3:38.60.

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