The comeback of pole vaulter Eliza McCartney looms as one of several star attractions for this year's Allan & Sylvia Potts Classic at the Mitre 10 Sports Park in Hastings on Saturday.
The Rio Olympic Games bronze medallist will be making her first competitive jump since June 2019 as she launches her campaign towards the Tokyo Olympics.
Organiser and former Olympic athlete Richard Potts said this year's athletics meet had been trickier to organise because it had been upgraded.
"We're a D category permit meet this year, so there are more points on offer for the athletes going to the Olympic Games," he said, adding that it means they need more highly ranked officials on-site.
"Also just finding accommodation for everyone as well, we've struggled."
Potts said this year's Classic won't feature any international athletes because of Covid-19.
"But the great thing about it is we've got 95 per cent of all the top [domestic] athletes," he said.
Potts said an important part of the event was giving local athletes a chance to have a crack at the best in New Zealand every year.
Defending women's shot put champion Dame Valerie Adams is opening her competition season at the classic, while 2020 men's winner Tom Walsh is set to battle Ryan Ballantyne for the title again.
A strong field including Eddie Osei-Nketia and five times national champion Joseph Millar will contest the men's 100 metres, and Zoe Hobbs will be looking to better her fresh New Zealand 100m resident record of 11.35 seconds in the women's race.
The New Zealand 3000m championship will be held in conjunction with the meeting and Eric Speakman of Napier will be aiming for the title against the very best in the country.
Katherine Camp will be looking for a three-peat in the women's 800m race, in memory of Sylvia Potts.
McCartney will face competition in the women's pole vault from Olivia McTaggart and Imogen Ayris, who are both in the world's top 50.
"They've just jumped personal bests, and they're getting closer and closer to Eliza now, which is fantastic," Potts said.
He was hoping for a crowd of about 700-800 spectators, with an atmosphere in the stands to match last year's Allan & Sylvia Potts Classic.
Entry is by gold coin donation, with all the proceeds going to the Hawke's Bay Cancer Society.
2021 Potts Classic Timetable
7am 10km/20km Track Walk open
5pm 400m Hurdles men Final
5.10pm 100m Men D category
5.15pm 100m men Heat 1
5.20pm 100m men Heat 2
5.25pm 100m men Heat 3
5.30pm 100m women Heat 1
5.35pm 100m women Heat 2
5.40pm 100m women Heat 3
5.50pm 100m Final 11-14yr boys Handicap
6pm 100m Final 11-14yr girls Handicap
6.20pm 800m 11-14yr Handicap
6.35pm 400m men
6.40pm 400m women
6.45pm 100m Permit event men Elite Final
6.55pm 100m Permit event women Elite Final
7pm 3000m Permit event women NZ Championships
7.15pm 800m men B category
7.20pm 800m women B category
7.25pm 800m Permit event Men Elite Final
7.30pm 800m Permit event women Elite Final
7.40pm 3000m Permit event men NZ Championships
Noon: Javelin open men/women
2pm Hammer Permit event Elite men/women
2pm Triple Jump open men/women
4.30pm Long Jump Permit event Elite women
4.45pm Discus Permit event Elite men/women
5pm Pole Vault Permit event Elite men/women
6.30pm Long Jump Permit event Elite men
6.30pm Shotput Permit event Elite men/women