Top group thrown together

Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012

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A class field of throwers from Australasia has been attracted to Timaru for the Lovelock Classic track and field meeting at Aorangi Park on January 5.

South Canterbury Amateur Athletic Club's Tom Walsh will face some of Australasia's best discus, shotput and hammer throwers in a unique event.

Walsh said he was looking forward to competing in Timaru against class athletes. "It should be really good, tough competition."

There will also be a "throwers" prize awarded to the overall male winner of four events.

Three are standard, with the hammer, discus and shotput included, but the final event will be worth watching as the big men compete in a 50m dash.

Elite athletes already confirmed include Australian shot put exponent Dale Stevenson, bronze medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The Australian national champion has a world ranking of 31. Fellow Australian Damien Birkinhead finished third at the 2012 world junior championships in the shotput.

Auckland decathlete Scott McLaren is coming south. He has a world ranking of 76 and is Cleo magazine's Batchelor of the Year.

Hammer throwers include Ryan Tinkler from Wellington and Auckland's Matt Bloxham, who threw 73.47m at the New Zealand Secondary School Championships.

Adding interest is the fact there is more than $6000 in prizemoney up for grabs.

Olympic champion Jack Lovelock will also be recognised with the Lovelock Mile during the meeting.

It has attracted the big names of New Zealand middle-distance running including defending champion Hamish Carson of Wellington, together with Otago's Callum Moody and Daniel Balchin of Canterbury.

Also in the field will be local Brett Clifford, the Canterbury senior men's 800m and 1500m champion, Otago's Hayden Donnelly and Sean Eustace, the New Zealand Secondary Schools junior 1500m title holder.

In the women's mile Anglia Smit, the New Zealand 800m champion, Ariana Harper of Wellington and Canterbury's Pip Trevella are three names to look out for.

The meeting also doubles as the Athletics New Zealand 10,000m championships, with both men and women chasing qualifying performances for the world cross- country championships.

Runners to watch are Timaru's Luke Hurring, runner-up to Nick Willis in the New Zealand 5000m championship in a close race, and Rhys Buck of Wellington.

In the women's field, Kellie Hurring has won New Zealand titles over 800m, 1500m, and 5000m and starts favourite.

In the women's sprints three members of the New Zealand four by 100m sprint squad, Otago's Larrissa Dyke and Canterbury pair Fiona Morrison and Kelsey Berryman, will fight out the title along with Roncalli College's Leanna Ryan.

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In the men's sprints local New Zealand secondary schools junior 100m and 200m champion Jacob Matson will be fronting up as he continues to build towards competing in the Youth Olympics in Sydney in mid January.

Fellow school's title holder, 110m hurdles champion James Sandilands, will also be chasing gold up against New Zealand men's 20 110m hurdles champion Jack Henry of Canterbury.

In the walk, the outstanding Courtney Ruske of Canterbury lead the women while in the men's, local Jonathon Lord will be to the fore.

Other highlights of the day include the women's shot put and discus as well as the 10,000m.

In the women's field events, local hammer thrower Rebecca Hodgson has tough opposition.

Auckland's Siositina Hakea will be worth watching in the discus, Having smashed the New Zealand schools record with a 56.27m effort.

The brilliant young javelin thrower Tori Peeters, of Southland, is also a starter in the throws, along with locals Ruby Cochrane and Lauren Bruce, the New Zealand schools junior hammer champion.

- The Timaru Herald

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