Athletics: Consolation prize for Phillips

By Mike Barrington


Foot surgery earlier this summer may have contributed to Whangarei's national women's under-17 high jump champion, Riana Phillips, struggling for height in the Athletics Auckland senior track and field meeting hosted by Athletics Whangarei at the ASB Sports Arena on Saturday.

She cleared only 1.55m - 10cm below her best - to finish runner-up in the U/20 event behind Madelaine Garbett Ovens, of Auckland, who jumped 1.70m.

But Phillips - who leaves next month to study at Waikato University in Hamilton - was not slowed by her repaired foot in the WU20 junior 400m, which she won in 1:04.27.

Athletics Whangarei chairman and coach Chris Portch said yesterday that Saturday's meeting - the biggest athletics event of its kind in Whangarei for about 30 years - had been very successful, with more than 70 athletes competing before a good crowd of supporters and spectators.

"Normally, we have to travel to Auckland to compete. I've been down there eight times already this season with athletes I coach," he said. "We were delighted with Saturday's meeting and we hope to repeat it next year.

Portch said New Zealand hammer throw record holder (67.26m) Matthew Bloxham (North Harbour Bays) was the undoubted star of the meeting, winning the U/20 hammer with a 63.06m throw and following this with a convincing win in the shotput (17.02m).

National champion Ella Pilkington (North Harbour Bays) won the SWU/18 hammer with a throw of 45.01m.

Two other members of the New Zealand team heading to Australia to compete in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival this week, national 800m champions Lucy Jacobs (Takapuna) and Michael Dawson (Wesley), elected to contest the U/18 400m events.

Jacobs won her race, recording the fastest U/18 time (57.80) in New Zealand so far this year, while Dawson duplicated this feat, recording 51.27 in winning his race.

Three Athletics Whangarei athletes who will be representing Harbour (Auckland) in the U/18 inter-provincials in two weeks each had convincing wins: Paul Ruddell (triple jump/12.02m), Imogen Hull (5000m/20:25.31) and Amanda Still (1500m/5:04.14).

Athletics Northland half marathon champion Corrine Smith won the senior 5000m and local athlete Harry Linford (Hatea) finished second in the U/20 1500m (4:24.98).

Personal best performances and individual wins came for Madi Doar (1500m), Rhys Shadbolt (1500m), Scott Gregory (hammer 26.02m, Athletics Northland B13 best performance, and shot), Luke Glover (long jump), Euan Sapwell (100m and 200m) and Marnix Post (high jump).

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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