The chance for some of the country's leading athletes to do "double duty" at Cooks Gardens could lead to some improved performances across both the Capital and Cooks classics in the next four days.

The Capital (Wellington), Cooks (Whanganui) and Potts (Hastings) classics form a three-event series in January, and Cooks Gardens will now host the first two after the Team Ledger Bayleys Capital Classic was uprooted when construction on Wellington's Newtown track was not finished on schedule.

Polytan contractor's told the Welllington City Council on Wednesday about the problems which required a partial uplift of the new track which had been laid before Christmas.

Capital Classic meet director and Commonwealth Games selector Tony Rogers worked with Athletics Whanganui's Alec McNab to organise a last-minute rush and transfer of the Wellington meeting to Cooks Gardens this afternoon and evening.


Due to the inconvenience for coaches and athletes, especially finding accommodation as the town is already busy with Vintage Weekend, two complimentary charter buses will leave Wellington at 10am and 11.30am, ahead of the start of field events at 3pm.

Looking for virtue amongst the necessity, McNab agreed several athletes, many who are using the classics to qualify for the Commonwealth Games, could be advantaged by competing at the same ground twice - improving their times or distances over both today and Tuesday.

"Possibly. Some will stay in Whanganui so they won't have to travel.

"It certainly gets them familiar with the setting.

"Our weather is due to be better than Wellington [today].

"Both meets have Commonwealth Games Trials attached, which adds spice to both meetings and gives Whanganui a tasty entree to our Tuesday meeting."

The major highlights today include the women's discus trial at 5pm, where Waitakere's Te Rina Keenan (personal best 60.78m) and Mangere's Siositina Hakei (59.81m) will be major rivals, having won the last five senior discus titles amongst themselves.

Both of them attended the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, while Hakei represented New Zealand at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Te Aroha's Tatiana Kaumoana is another contender as the current NZ Schools champion and Commonwealth Youth Silver medallist.

Starting with the heats at 5.25pm and then the finals beginning at 6.45pm, there are Commonwealth Games spots in the 200m on the line with the men's and women's trials.

McNab said all the leading women nationally appear to be entered, including Marlborough's Lucy Sheat, the talented NZ School champion who broke the oldest national schools record standing just prior to Christmas in Hastings.

North Harbour's Zoe Hobbs and Hastings' Georgia Hulls are other contenders.

In the men's 200m, the field is waiting to see what Tauranga's national champion Joseph Millar is doing, but all the other top ranked competitors are confirmed.

Tauranga's national champion Joseph Millar will be the main favourite in the Classic's 200m events.
Tauranga's national champion Joseph Millar will be the main favourite in the Classic's 200m events.

Just before the 200m heats, at 5.10pm, is the start of the 400m Hurdles trial, and in the men's division it looks like Tauranga's Michael Cochrane will enter, but Hamilton's Olympian Cameron French will bypass the Capital event.

Come 7pm, all eyes will be watching the Men's 800m trial.

Representing his Wellington club, the 2016 World Juniors representative James Preston (personal best 1m 48.06s) will be up against 2017 national runnerup Michael Dawson, Canterbury's Sam Petty, Waitakere's Simon Rogers, and Auckland's Michael Manning.
Up-and-coming runners include Pakuranga's Theo Quax, Tauranga's Sam Tanner and Wellington's Josh Nairne, who are all targeting the World Juniors.

The big feature at 6.35pm is the Women's 1500m Trial.

Canterbury's Angela Petty (personal best 4m 7.83s) is looking for a Commonwealth Games qualification double – adding the 1500m to her 800m ticket.

She will face stiff opposition from Te Awamutu's Katherine Camp, who set a meet record and upset Petty at the Capital Classic last January.

Auckland's Katie Wright [personal best 4m 10.51s], Wellington's Ariana Harper, North Harbour's Esther Keown and Taranaki's Hannah O'Connor loom as other contenders.

Field Events
3pm: Open Men's and Women's Hammer; 4pm: Fuji Xerox Athletics NZ Women's Triple Jump (NZCG Trial); 4pm: Women's High Jump; 5pm: Athletics NZ Women's Discus (NZCG Trial); 6pm: Men's Long Jump; 6pm: Open Men's and Women's Shot; 6.30pm: Athletics NZ Men's Discus (NZCG Trial).

Track Events
4pm: EFTPOS Women's 100m Hurdles; 4.15pm: Men's 100m Graded Divisions; 4.25pm: Women's 100m Graded Divisions; 4.30pm: SAS Men's Elite 100m; 4.35pm: SAS Women's Elite 100m; 4.40pm: Open 3000m Track Walk (Mixed ); 5.10pm: SOS Athletics NZ Women's 400m Hurdles (NZCG Trial); 5.15pm SOS Athletics NZ Men's 400m Hurdles (NZCG Trial); 5.25pm: Athletics NZ Women's 200m Open Heats (NZCG Trial); 5.35pm Athletics NZ Men's 200m Heats Open Heats (NZCG Trial); 5.45pm: Brian Taylor Memorial Trust Open Women's 800m Graded Divisions; 5.50pm: Acesports Men's Open 800m Graded Divisions; 6.20pm: SOS Men's Open 400m; 6.25pm: Brentwood Hotel Men Under 20 1500m; 6.35pm: Brian Taylor Memorial Trust Athletics NZ Women's 1500m (NZCG Trial); 6.45pm: Athletics NZ Women's 200m Final (NZCG Trial); 6.50pm: Athletics NZ Men's 200m Final (NZCG Trial); 7pm: Team Ledger Bayleys Men's 800m (NZCG Trial); 7.05pm: Team Ledger Bayleys Men's 3000m Challenge; 7.20pm: SAS Women's 4x100m Relay; 7.25pm SAS Men's 4x100m Relay.