Canterbury’s Angie Smit completed an impressive double on the final day of the national track and field championships in Wellington today.
Smit beat her rival Nikki Hamblin in the 1500m final to complete a dominant middle distance double for the weekend at Newtown Park. Already qualified for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the 800m, Smit ran 4:17.95 in the 1500m and had just over one second to spare over Hamblin, dual silver medallist at Delhi four years ago.
In a blustery northerly, the time was well outside the Games B standard of 4:09 which leaves Hamblin requiring qualifying times in the United States in May as she returns to full fitness from major heel surgery in 2012.
Smit said: “I’m really, really happy. I sat in for what was a slow first lap because of the wind before going to the front. I was hoping for the double but it wasn’t easy because of the tough competition.”
Waikato Bay of Plenty's Millar achieved his coveted triple-double, winning the 100m and 200m titles in three successive years and matching the feat of James Dolphin from the mid-2000s.
The Tauranga-based sprinter was too good in the 200m final, clocking 21.15sec to beat Auckland’s Josh Hawkins by half a second in a performance he described as one of his best ever.
Millar will now head to the Australian national championships in Melbourne next weekend in an attempt to run a Games qualifying time in the 100m and 200m, his final competition of the season.
In the men’s 1500m, Wellington’s Hamish Carson won the men’s blue riband event in a thrilling finish with fellow Games aspirant Julian Matthews of Tasman. Carson won in 3:46.23 while Matthews clocked 3:46.61. Matthews has already run a B standard in the 1500m and Carson will attempt to join him in three races in the US in May.
The best race of the final day saw Cameron French overhaul fellow Waikato-BOP runner Michael Cochrane in the 400m hurdles final. French pipped his rival for a personal best 50.16sec. The pair will now cross the Tasman to run in Melbourne next weekend, chasing the B standard of 49.70.
Auckland’s Louise Jones also completed a memorable weekend with personal bests in the 200m and 400m to do the double. She beat her Auckland team-mate Portia Bing, the defending champion, by 0.19sec in the 200m final in a time of 24.28sec.
Shot putter Jacko Gill, who threw 19.93m in finishing second to five-time men's champion Tom Walsh yesterday, was the only athlete to achieve a new Glasgow qualifying mark over the weekend.
- Fairfax Media
Is the Canterbury team 'mentally soft'?Related story: North Harbour stun hapless Canterbury team