Athletics: Big New Zealand team named for U20 World Champs

Lucy Sheat competes in the girls 100m heats during the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games. Photo  / Getty Images
Lucy Sheat competes in the girls 100m heats during the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games. Photo / Getty Images

Athletics New Zealand has named a big team for the 2016 World Under 20 Track & Field Championships to be held in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz.

Sixteen athletes (nine women and seven men) have been selected for the July event with sprinters and relays teams dominating the team.

Twelve members of the team make up the men's and women's 4x100m relay squads and various 100m and 200m events, while two 800m runners, a shot putter and a hammer thrower complete the team.

Such is the current strength of junior women's sprinting in New Zealand, three athletes have qualified for the 100m and four for the 200m. Each country can name up to three athletes for each event and two can run at the championships.

Lucy Sheat, the fastest over 200m, setting New Zealand U18 and U17 records in March this year, has decided to concentrate on the 100m and relay.

Sprinters Zoe Hobbs and Georgia Hulls and shot putter Madison-Lee Wesche have all represented New Zealand at IAAF World Under 18 championships, while the other 13 members of the team will all make their world championship debuts.

New Zealand has won three golds at previous World Under 20 championships, all in shot put, to Valerie Adams and Jacko Gill (2), while there have been five other medallists over the 16 editions of the championships since 1986.

The most recent medallist is pole vaulter Eliza McCartney (bronze in 2014) who recently finished fifth at the World Indoor Championships and has high hopes for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The team will be led by Athletics New Zealand High Performance Development Leader Tim Driesen.

- NZ Herald

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