Black Stick and track star

Hockey player wins sprints in Hamilton

AARON GOILE
Last updated 05:00 11/02/2013
Anita Punt
Mark Taylor/FAIRFAX NZ
TRACK STAR: Black Stick and sprinter Anita Punt, foreground, turns on the speed in the 100m at Porritt Stadium in Hamilton.

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After a week of hockey training, including a tough session on the morning of her races, Black Sticks player Anita Punt still managed to put on a brilliant showing at the Porritt Classic athletics meet in Hamilton on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Aucklander took out the women's 100m-200m double at the seventh and final leg of Athletics NZ's Grand Prix summer series, which precedes next month's national track and field championships in Auckland.

Punt, competing in the 100m for just the fourth time and the 200m for only the second time, recorded times of 11.72sec and 23.95sec, winning by 0.16 and 0.53.

The previous weekend Punt, who debuted for New Zealand on the hockey turf in 2009 and has racked up more than 100 caps, was invited to an international track meet in Christchurch to add some novelty value, before taking the 100 and 300m titles.

At the weekend she was at it again, upstaging those who specialise in athletics, though going into the meet she was anxious about how she'd fare.

"I had hockey training all week and I had training that morning as well. We had a harder session, so I was a little bit nervous going into it seeing how my legs would go, but I managed to handle it all right so I was pretty happy with how I went," Punt said.

Because of the strength of the tail wind, Punt's times weren't able to be legalled.

She was happy to run under 12 seconds in the 100m and under 24 in the 200m, though she felt she could have run the 200m more quickly.

"I'm still learning how to run the race and everything like that as well, and how to get out and how to run the bend," she said.

With a 10-day, five-test hockey tour of Argentina coming up this month, Punt is non-committal to competing in next month's national track and field championships.

"I'm not saying yes but I'm not saying no as well so we'll just see what we decide when it comes to that - see how I come out of Argentina. Again, I'm not going to have any preparation leading into it. I get a little bit nervous going into it not being prepared but it seems to be working for me at the moment."

As for a possible switch of sports, Punt said she wants to keep doing both.

"Hockey's still my main focus, of course, and I'd like to continue doing athletics on the side when I can. I'm enjoying it and the crossover's hopefully going to help out with my hockey," she said, adding that coach Scott McLaren has helped out heaps with the technical side and allowed her to run more efficiently.

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Meanwhile, Tauranga's Joseph Millar did the double in the men's, recording 10.57sec and 21.41sec.

Hamilton's Stuart Farquhar threw 78.28m to win the men's javelin event in his first outing since last year's Olympics and Hamilton's Camille Buscomb took out the women's 1500m race in 4mins 26.89sec with a strong last lap.

There were three New Zealand age group records to rising junior athletes.

Amy Robinson set a new U17 record in the 300m hurdles at 42.14sec, erasing NZ multiple rep Sonia Scown (Waddell) from the record books. Siositina Hakeai extended her own NZ U19 Discus record to 57.55m and Nicholas Southgate equalled his own NZ U19 Pole Vault record at 5.10m.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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