Napier Boys’ High School sprinter Rylan Noome is looking forward to an early qualification for next year’s Junior World athletics championships after retaining the New Zealand Secondary Schools athletics championships senior boys’ 200 metres title in Christchurch on Saturday.
Aged 17, his was one of three titles to go to Hawke’s Bay athletes during the three days of track and field, with 14-year-old Zita Meo, of Napier Girls’ High School, winning the junior girls’ 400 metres in 57.77sec, and the Havelock North High School team of Amy Nicoll, Hunter Avery, Maisie Simpson and Millie Woodham winning the junior girls’ 4x100m relay in a particularly close result, with HNHS and Christchurch GHS each posting 51.45sec.
A new personal best, Noome’s 200m cut 0.07 seconds under the Junior World Championships qualifying mark set by World Athletics of 21.35sec, but Noome is chasing the tougher Athletics New Zealand requirement of 21.1sec.
His previous best was 21.76sec in a heat at the Australian junior championships in April, where he had to withdraw from the final stages with cramps.
In other events, Paige Dobson, of Napier GHS, was second in the junior girls’ 800m, beaten by just 0.53secs by winner Nina Chalmers of Mt Albert Grammar. Sofia Lumbreras, of Havelock North HS, was second in the senior girls’ 800m, beaten by two seconds by Boh Ritchie, of St Peter’s School. Caitlin Kirk, of Central Hawke’s Bay College was second in the junior girls’ 2000m steeplechase.
An interested watcher of the 50th anniversary championships via-livestreaming was Hastings coach Richard Potts, who still holds one of the longest-standing records, in the senior boys’ 1500m, which he won in 1989 in 3min 46.92sec.
He said he was “a bit nervous” as Daniel Prescott, of St Thomas of Canterbury College, ran through the 1km mark on-pace, but the record drifted out of reach in the last lap.
As an organiser of the Alan and Sylvia Potts Classic in Hastings on January 20, an international classified Continental Tour event, he’s hoping to have overseas athletes racing in the Bay, and provide further opportunities for such athletes as Noome to reach varying qualifying standards.
Targets for athletes will include the Junior World Championships in Peru on August 26-31, and the Paris Olympic games on July 26-August 11.
Noome said other meetings are available in Wellington and Christchurch in the New Year, and he has a goal firmly set.
“I’m hoping for even better than just the qualifying time,” he said. “But to get a sub-21-second race is a big goal for me early next year.”