Spanish discus thrower Sabina Asenjo-Alvarez will add to the international flavour at The Allan and Sylvia Potts Classic athletics meeting in Hastings next week.

Now living in Masterton, Asenjo-Alvarez competed for Spain at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

She will meet Te Rina Keenan and Lauren Bruce among her Kiwi opponents in the January 26 classic at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park.

Bruce is in personal best form having thrown 51.31m at the Christchurch Throwers Competition earlier this month. Entries close today but already include internationals Tom Walsh, Jacko Gill, Eliza McCartney and Angie Petty and a number of overseas athletes such as Japanese 800m runners Mamoru Takebayashi and Hirotaka Tanimoto.


Hawke's Bay's Nick Palmer and fellow New Zealand junior rep Ryan Ballantyne of Waikato are tipped to provide Walsh with his closest competition in the shot put.

The men's Specsavers 5000m will have Hawke's Bay fans keeping a close eye on their stop watches as Jacob Priddey and Matt Taylor use the race to qualify for the World University Games to be held in Naples, Italy, in July. Meeting the standard of 14m20s will not be easy.

Taylor, who won a New Zealand secondary schools cross-country title when at Lindisfarne College, has a personal best 14m40s and needs to find another 20 seconds. Priddey was more noted on the track while at school and took clocked 4:04.91 for 1500m in Hamilton last week.

The Gardiner Knobloch women's 100m will feature a number of New Zealand's current fine crop of young sprinters including New Zealand 100m and 200m champion Zoe Hobbs, who ran the good 200m time of 24.19s into a 2.9m head wind at the recent Hamilton meeting showing she is rounding into some good form. She won't have things all her own way though against Leah Belfield, Symone Tafunai, and Hawke's Bay sprinters Briana Stephenson and Georgia Hulls.

Hulls ran against Hobbs in the 200m in Hamilton and will double in the 400m at the Potts Classic. Many see 400m as the future for Hulls with her outstanding ability to hold speed.

The TCL Turley men's 100m should be dominated by national champion and New Zealand resident record holder Joseph Millar who ran 10.79s at the New Year's Day meeting in Tauranga.

The feature races at the Potts Classic through its twenty years have always been the 800 metres for which the men's and women's races each carry a trophy. This year's women's field, the race sponsored by the Oxenham Family and Andrew Spence Pharmacy, is beginning to fill up behind current titleholder Katherine Camp, Olympian and eight-times winner of this race Angie Petty, and Petty's training partner Ariana Harper.

The Proactive-sponsored men's field is headed by the 1:49 man Sam Petty, with the Japanese pair of Takebayashi and Tanimoto as somewhat unknown quantities, while there will be considerable interest in Lindisfarne College's Mitchell Snell, still only 16 but a rising star.


The meeting will be preceded by events for younger athletes and from these fields handicapped races over 100m and 800m will be run as part of the main classic programme.

One young Hawke's Bay runner to look out for will be 14-year-old Charlie Roil who is turning in startling times for a runner his age. Roil won both the 400m and 800m at the South Island Colgate Games in Dunedin last weekend, the 400m in 54.03s and the 800m in 2:05.91.

Admission to the meeting will be by a gold coin donation for the Hawke's Bay Cancer Society.