The tornado and thunderstorms that struck Auckland on
Thursday disrupted the travel plans of athletes competing at
the New Zealand secondary schools championships in Dunedin
One athlete affected was Alexander O'Neill, from Rosmini
College, whose flights were delayed. He missed the junior
boys hammer throw that started at 3.30pm yesterday. Allowance
was made for him to compete in the senior boys event that
started at 6.15pm.
A group of Hamilton athletes drove into heavy rain on their
way to the Auckland airport for the flight to Dunedin.
''When we arrived, the airport was closed because of
lightning,'' event co-ordinator John Tylden said.
''They wouldn't refuel the planes. My Waikato group was one
of the fortunate ones, because we finally did travel.''
Other schools did not get off the ground at Auckland. When
they arrived late in Christchurch, there was no air link to
Dunedin. They travelled south by minibus and taxis and
arrived at 3am.
It was hardly good preparation for a major athletics event,
but some others did not even get off the ground in Auckland.
Adjustments will be made for athletes in the 1500m who will
miss their heats today because of flight delays. They will be
allowed into the 1500m final that will be held tomorrow.
''We have come up with a compromise for athletes affected so
they won't miss out,'' organising committee chairman Andrew