The Capital Classic was just capital.
It was one of the best meetings I have attended for some time. It was well presented and had some world-class performances. The only sadness was that there were not more spectators there to enjoy the event and the poor media coverage.
Tony Rogers is to be congratulated on organising a top-class event. It was a pleasure to be part of it, announcing teams and sharing the positive response from the competitors.
In the discus, five countries were represented among the field of 10, with five athletes throwing the 2kg discus beyond the 60-metre mark in a close and exciting world-class competition. There was a whole raft of personal best performances in an event won by Australian visitor Mathew Denny with a 65.47m throw.
Connor Bell, still only 18 years old, threw the senior implement out to 62.43m (just short of his personal best set in January in Hastings) to place second. Yusi Tsutsumi of Japan was third, while New Zealander Alexander Parkinson was fourth with his first 60-metre throw (60.56). American athlete Jordan Roach also throwing in excess of 60 metres for fifth. The discus was one of seven meet records set at Newtown on Friday.
The bar was clearly raised in the high jump, with three athletes setting meet records.
In the women's section, Australians Elanor Patterson and Nicola McDermott both jumped 1.99m, with Patterson winning on countback after a world-class competition. Brandon Starc, currently ranked third in the world, added 12cm to his own Stadium Record to jump 2.26m and came tantalisingly close to jumping 2.30m.
Many athletes used the Capital Classic as a final preparation for the New Zealand Championships at the weekend.
Among these were eight Whanganui athletes of the 16 who will travel to Christchurch as part of the Manawatū/Whanganui (MWA) team for the New Zealand Track and Field Championships starting tomorrow.
Tayla Brunger rounded her preparation well with a third place in the elite 100m with a 12.10 effort into a stiff headwind in a strong field. By the time of the 200m the wind had switched to a tail. Brunger ran her first sub-25-second effort (24.32), which, although wind aided, backed up her time of 25.02 at a club night earlier in the week.
Brunger had her final race at club night on Tuesday over 150m, setting a personal best of 18.52 and a best over 60 metres (7.76). She will travel south with the confidence to do well over both short and longer sprints.
Brunger will be joined in the relays by Genna Maples, who will move up to the under-20s from the under-18s for the 4 x 100m, with Emma Osborne and Aria Carroll completing the likely starting line-up.
Maples demonstrated that after setbacks in early 2020 she is gaining both confidence and form. She ran in the B 100m, winning for the first time this year, and finished sixth in the 200m with a calendar-year best. Her second place in the 60m on Tuesday with a time of 7.85 was also encouraging.
Aria Carroll pulled up injured in the 100m but will be back in action at the weekend having run in two heats over 60m on Tuesday while Emma Osborne ran a season's best over 300m (41.48) in a mixed race won by Jakob Moorhouse in 37.74.
Whanganui will be represented by four 800m runners. Zach Bellamy and Travis Bayler will run at under-20 level, Daniel Taylor at under-18 level and Liam Back has moved up to Senior Men where he will compete against former Whanganui athlete Brad Mathas who is now based in Melbourne.
Mathas has won nine New Zealand titles with an impressive run of victories. Bayler and Bellamy had mixed fortunes in Wellington with Bellamy being placed in the slower heat paying the penalty for a slow first lap in just over 60 seconds. He came home well but had to settle for second with another 1 minute 57 performance. Bayler in the faster heat found the early pace too hot but will have benefitted from the experience.
Bellamy and Bayler meet again in Christchurch and both will have roles in 4 x 400m relays. Bellamy will join former Collegiate team mate Liam Back in the under-20 1500m, where Back and MWA team mate Benjamin Wall (Fielding) will be among the favourites.
New Zealand Schools representatives Maggie Jones (hurdles) and Lucas Martin (Walks) did not travel to Wellington but will be in Christchurch as part of vital preparation for Sydney later in the month. Martin has been in especially good form and will hope to return from the south with at least one walking medal.