Athletics stars set to shine

By Peter White


Athletics fans are in for a treat with a star-studded field set to roar into action at the Tauranga Domain for the annual New Year's Day Twilight Athletics meeting.

Tauranga Ramblers president and event organiser, Malcolm Taylor, has picked out some of the key runners to watch on Tuesday night.

"We do have Joseph Miller from Tauranga, the New Zealand and Australian sprint champion over 100m and 200m, who is trying to win the 100m, 200m, and 400m triple, so that will be worth watching.

"Matt Baxter from New Plymouth, the New Zealand Secondary Schools 3000m title and record holder in 2012, will run the 800m.

"Waikato's Ryan Howe is another outstanding athlete with a personal best of 10.58s in the 100m, 22.21s in the 200m and a best in the long jump of 7.37m.

"Kristie Baillie of the Hamilton City Hawks is favourite for women's 100m race. She was a medallist at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships this year in the 100m and 200m relays.

"Molly Florence, also from Lake City, will run in the 100m and 200m sprints. She was the New Zealand Secondary School Championships senior 100m and 200m champion and New Zealand Women's Under-17 100m Champion in 2012.

"Zoe Hobbs, also from New Plymouth, is the New Zealand Secondary Schools Junior 100m and 200m champion for 2012 and she is competing, as is Kerry White from Te Aroha, who is the New Zealand Secondary Schools Senior Girls 800m Champion and Kerry will run the 200m and 400m double.

"Tauranga Girls' College star Amy Robinson is one of a host of our talented local Tauranga athletes competing. Amy came second in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Senior Girls 100m, third in the hurdles and third in the long jump.

"Abby Goldie from Tauranga finished just one place behind Amy in this year's New Zealand Secondary Schools Senior Girls 100m so will be worth watching, as is Ariana Lord from Cambridge, the New Zealand Secondary Schools Junior Girls 1500m champion."

There will be an interesting entrant in the men's 3000m race.

Camille Buscombe of Cambridge has entered to run a fast time. She is a classy athlete and returning to her best form, after a tremendous win over 5000m at North Shore Bays in 16m 44s on December 19.

Highly regarded Tauranga runners Michael Pugh, Ben Ruthe, Iain MacDonald and Kyle MacDonald are all in the 3000m.

Taylor is excited about the high standard of sprinters and coaches in Tauranga.

"We have four New Zealand champs in Tauranga so we are very pleased," he said.

"We have a new coach in town, Kerry Hill, who used to be the director of coaching at Athletics New Zealand.

"He has been in Qatar for eight years and is basing himself in Tauranga so that should be interesting as the aim will be to extend the number of coaches we have got so we have more athletes getting top coaching.

"So with Kerry Hill, Todd Blythe and Adam Garner and Val Bromley producing these sprinters, well we will become pretty dominant."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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