Sarah Cowley confirmed for Glasgow Games
High jumper Sarah Cowley is the latest to book her ticket to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games after leaping the qualifying mark in Melbourne at the weekend.
Cowley was one of 11 New Zealand athletes confirmed today in the initial track and field team for the Games starting in late July. More names will be added in early June.
Having competed at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and 2012 London Olympics as a heptathlete, Cowley switched her focus to the high jump and cleared 1.89m in finishing second at the Australian national championships at the weekend. That topped the Athletics New Zealand B standard by 1cm.
The athletics team is headlined by shot putter Valerie Adams, middle distance runner Nick Willis and javelin thrower Stuart Farquhar. Between them, they hold three gold, two silver and one bronze from previous Commonwealth Games, and two gold and one silver from Olympic Games.
Willis, who has qualified in the 1500m, will also try to run a 5000m qualifying time in the next seven weeks.
The other seven will compete at their first Commonwealth Games.
Shot putters Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill form a dynamic duo in the men's shot put and have realistic chances to win medals.
Walsh beat Gill in their much-awaited duel at the national championships last month, where Gill topped the B standard of 19.75m.
Walsh burst onto the world stage with a bronze medal at the world indoor championships in Poland last month, throwing 21.26m.
The selection also includes African-based distance runners Zane and Jake Robertson (both 5000m), who had some solid international results in 2013 and have run just outside the New Zealand records for 5000m and 10,000m respectively.
Angie Smit (800m) finished fourth at the 2013 world university games and had her major debut at last year's Moscow world championships. She was dominant in winning the 800m-1500m double at the nationals.
Exciting young throwers Julia Ratcliffe (hammer) and Siositina Hakeai (discus) complete the initial selection.
Both athletes finished fourth at the 2012 world junior championships. Ratcliffe further improved her national record while 20-year-old Hakeai topped former world champion Beatrice Faumuina's national under-20 record.
Marathon, decathlon and heptathlon athletes will be named in the second group of selections in May and a final athletics selection will take place in early June.
Middle distance runners, including Nikki Hamblin, Lucy van Dalen and Hamish Carson, will attempt to run qualifying times in the United States in May.
The New Zealand Commonwealth Games team is expected to be made up of about 200 athletes competing in 17 sports.
New Zealand track and field team for Glasgow: (more names to be added)
Valerie Adams (shot put), Sarah Cowley (high jump), Stuart Farquhar (javelin), Jacko Gill (shot put), Siositina Hakeai (discus), Julia Ratcliffe (hammer), Jake Robertson (5000m), Zane Robertson (5000m), Angela Smit (800m), Tom Walsh (shot put), Nick Willis (1500m).