New Zealand athletics is on the rise on the world stage, and there are high hopes that recent success will filter through to the Kiwi athletes competing at the Youth Olympics.

New Zealand has won one medal in athletics at the Youth Olympics - Jacko Gill's shot put silver in 2010 - and is sending five athletes to try and add to that tally in Buenos Aires this fortnight.

One of that quintet, 2000m steeplechase and cross country runner Murdoch McIntyre, says the accomplishments of the likes of Tom Walsh, Eliza McCartney, Valerie Adams and Nick Willis inspires the younger generation to match their feats.

"I feel athletics is definitely making a comeback into the mainstream - with the athletes we've got at the top at the moment there's definitely been a resurgence at our age," he told Radio Sport. "You learn from them when you get to watch - you go 'I'm a Kiwi, they're a Kiwi - why can't I do what they do?'."


While taking notes from the best, McIntyre is also blazing his own path - a long, gruelling path specialising in long-distance running - a discipline which became alluring to him after a sudden realisation at school.

"What happens is you play rugby, as every Kiwi boy does, then you get to high school and you look at your wrists, compared to everyone else's wrists, and they're a whole lot smaller," McIntyre laughed.

"So you go 'You know what, these might not be designed to bash boys up in rugby, but they sure can move fast', so that's how you come to distance running."

McIntyre finished second in the 2000m steeplechase at the Youth Olympic Games qualification event in Vanuatu in May, but the Westlake Boys' High School student is unsure of how his skills will translate at the international level.

"You never know with this age what competition you're going to come up against, you can only control what you can run.

"I could turn up and be the best there, or the worst there. It might sound simple, it might sound weird - I just want to put my best performance out on the table."

The same goes for the other four track and field athletes all set to compete in Buenos Aires. Hannah O'Connor will run in the 3000m and cross country, Kayla Goodwin will tackle the triple jump, Dominic Overend competes in the 200m, and Connor Bell is a contender in the discus.

If they can follow McIntyre's goal and deliver their best performances, then we could get an early glimpse at the next era of New Zealand athletics.