Canterbury athletes win stack of medals at national track and field championships
A swag of medals at the national track and field championships at the weekend has Athletics Canterbury development officer Anita Sutherland excited about the future.
Despite not having a proper track to use since the earthquakes, Canterbury athletes won 69 medals – 31 gold, 25 silver and 13 bronze – in Hamilton at the weekend.
"Not having had an all-weather facility since the [2011-12] earthquakes, the results from our team are incredible and show the resilience of our athletes and coaches," Sutherland said.
"We hope the new track helps us to propel results further."
Construction of the Nga Puna Wai sports hub, which will include an all-weather track, was scheduled to start this month and would take a couple of years to complete.
Sutherland said Canterbury's medal haul was about on par with previous years, but the team which travelled to Hamilton to contest the annual meet was slightly smaller.
Highlighted by Angie Petty completing the 800m and 1500m double, Canterbury athletes won 11 individual senior titles.
Shot put ace Tom Walsh notched his eighth consecutive men's shot put title, while Brad Mathas recorded his sixth men's 800m title in as many years.
Fiona Morrison continued her domination in the women's 100m hurdles by winning her fourth title in five years, and Jesse Bryant marked his return to athletics after three years off by winning the men's long jump title.
Daniel Balchin (5000m), Rozie Robinson (road walk), Kelsey Berryman (long jump), Rosa Flanagan (3000m steeplechase) and Anna Percy (400m hurdles) also won gold.
The senior women's relay team won both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
But as impressive as the seniors were, Sutherland was particularly impressed with the younger athletes coming through the ranks.
Lincoln High School pupil Maia Broughton was most impressive, blitzing the competition to win gold in the women's under-18 100m, 200m and 400m, before helping the under-18 relay team win both the 4x100m and 4x400m races.
The 15-year-old's winning time of 24.75sec in the 200m broke her own Canterbury under-16 record.
St Bede's College pupil Nick Moulai, who broke the national under-17 3000m record in December, did the 800m and 1500m double in the men's under-18 category.
Brother Tom won gold in the men's under-20 800m, but didn't get a shot at adding the 400m title to his name after falling ill.
Christchurch paralympian William Stedman won gold in the men's para 400m, 800m and long jump.
Nine of Canterbury's medals, including four gold, were won via relays.
"Relays were a real highlight for us," Sutherland said. "About three years ago, we had a shocking relay return."