The Porritt Classic track and field meet in Hamilton on Saturday is a World Athletics Permit Category D event, so is an opportunity for athletes hoping to gain ranking points towards Tokyo Olympic qualification.

Headlining the field are Olympians Dame Valerie Adams, Tom Walsh and Nick Willis, Commonwealth Games hammer throw gold medallist Julia Ratcliffe, up-and-coming athletes Connor Bell, Zoe Hobbs and Edward Osei-Nketia, and Waikato Javelin-thrower Ben Langton-Burnell.

Paralympian William Stedman and World Para Athletics silver medallist Danielle Aitchison also feature.

For Walsh it will be his second shot put competition this season. The 2017 world champion opened at the Potts Classic on January 25 with a 21.10m throw, his first outing since taking bronze at the world championships in Doha in October, with a personal best 22.90m.

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NZ shot put representative Tom Walsh at the Potts Classic athletics meet in Hastings last month. Photo / Ian Cooper
NZ shot put representative Tom Walsh at the Potts Classic athletics meet in Hastings last month. Photo / Ian Cooper

With competition from former Waikato athlete Ryan Ballantyne, Jan Jeuschede of Germany and Nick Palmer, Walsh will be out to better his meeting record of 21.87m set in 2018.

Ballantyne is knocking on the door of throwing over 20m, having improved to 19.37m in Melbourne last week.

Dame Valerie Adams likewise steps up to the circle having opened her season with a Tokyo Olympic qualifying throw of 18.65m at the Potts Classic.

Adams has a best of 21.24m also holds the meeting record of 20.25m, set in 2010.

Brittany Crew of Canada, bronze medallist behind Adams who won silver at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, will be competing along with world junior champion Maddison-Lee Wesche, World University Games gold medallist Sarah Mitton and Trinity Tutti both Canada and Torie Owers.

Olympian Dame Valerie Adams steps up in Hamilton having opened her season with a Tokyo Olympic qualifying throw of 18.65m at the Potts Classic. Photo / Ian Cooper
Olympian Dame Valerie Adams steps up in Hamilton having opened her season with a Tokyo Olympic qualifying throw of 18.65m at the Potts Classic. Photo / Ian Cooper

Nick Willis will compete in the permit D 1500m. Back from the indoor circuit in the States, Willis will have his eye on Hayden McLaren's meeting record of 3:42.00 set in 2011.

The field also has former national champion Eric Speakman who won his title in Hamilton in 2017, five runners from Japan and Isaac Hockey of Australia who has a best of 3:38.49.

Angie Petty and Katherine Camp will clash along with Rebekah Greene over 1500m. Camp was third in Melbourne last week in 4:20.75, Greene fourth in 4:22.09 and Petty ran 4:24.07 in a mixed race in Christchurch in November. The meeting record is held by Suzy Walsham who ran 4:13.16 in 2004.

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Edward Osei-Nketia who won the sprint double last year in 10.83 over 100m and 21.83 in the 200m, returns and lines up in the 100m includes James Guthrie-Croft, Jacob Stockwell, Cody Wilson, Tiaan Whelpton and Zac Topping.

These sprinters, apart from Stockwell, will also compete in the permit D 200m along with Dominic Overend and Tommy Te Puni. Chris Donaldson holds the meeting 100m record of 10.27 and Frankie Fredericks the 200m record of 20.20.

Julia Ratcliffe showed good form in Tauranga last week with a throw of 70.76m with the hammer, and will be looking for another top throw as she closes in on a Tokyo Olympic qualifying performance of 72.50m.

Nicole Bradley and Lauren Bruce who have both set personal bests this season are also entered.

Also competing will be Alexandra Hulley of Australia who was second behind Ratcliffe at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Ben Langton Burnell will enjoy competing at the Porritt ground in the javelin throw which invariably produces a lengthy throw for him. His best is 82.44m in Hamilton in June 2017.

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Six Australians have entered in the permit D javelin as well as Takuto Kominami of Japan who has a best throw of 81.73m.