The 40th annual New Zealand secondary schools athletics
championships start at the Caledonian Ground this afternoon.
Athletics writer Alistair McMurran highlights seven athletes
who are expected to shine.
• Matthew Bloxham
Bloxham (16) could be the emerging superstar at these
championships. He has just smashed New Zealand hammer throw
records in Auckland, setting new national marks in the men's
aged 18 and 19 grades with his distance of 67.26m with the
6kg implement. He now holds all the national junior hammer
throw records, having set an M16 and M17 record of 71.33m
with the lighter 5kg hammer, and has qualified for next
year's world youth championships in Ukraine.
McCleery (18) should dominate the senior girls sprints and
win the difficult 200m-400m double. She won the Oceania title
in Cairns in July with her 200m time of 25.20sec. McCleery is
also 2sec faster than her opponents in the 400m with her time
Hakeai (18) tops the Athletics New Zealand junior women's
rankings in the shot put (13.89m) and discus (56.17m) and
will likely win gold medals in both events. The discus is her
best event and she came fourth at this year's world junior
championships in Barcelona. She starts with a 10m edge over
the rest of the field.
Robinson (17) is expected to retain the three gold medals she
won in the AWD shot put, discus and javelin last year. She
represented New Zealand at the Paralympics in London and
finished seventh in the F46 javelin with 32.58m.
John McGlashan College
Jopp (17), Otago's big hope in the sprints, is ranked third
on the Athletics New Zealand list for the junior 200m with
the 22.18sec he ran in Invercargill in March. He came third
in the senior boys 200m last year and should get on the
• Anna Kean
Otago Girls' High School
Kean (18) won a silver medal in the senior girls 1500m in
Wellington last year behind Otago's best female middle
distance runner, Rebekah Greene (St Hilda's). She is only
ranked seventh on the Athletics New Zealand list but has
proved in the past that she has the temperament to bring out
a top performance on the big day.
St Hilda's Collegiate
O'Brien (17) won the silver medal in the senior girls 800m in
Wellington last year and is likely to medal again. She is
fourth on this year's Athletics New Zealand ranking list with
a personal best of 2min 13.94sec.