Athletics: Dyke too fast for both male and female rivals

Larissa DykeLarissa Dyke (Taieri) is a super woman. She sprints down the front straight at the Caledonian Ground with jet-propelled speed and holds down a high-powered job.

Dyke (27) is one of the best female sprinters in the country and is a member of the Athletics New Zealand Rio de Janeiro Olympics development relay squad.

She also has a fulltime job as marketing and commercial manager at the Fortune Theatre and owns a modelling agency.

It is difficult to fit in her training around her heavy work commitments.

''It's really tricky and it's something I need to sit down and have a good think about and assess where I want to be in the next two years,'' Dyke said after dominating the sprints at the Caledonian Ground on Saturday.

''You're only young once and I have a good opportunity in athletics and I really need to grasp it.''

Dyke is highly organised and manages to juggle her work and athletics training into a weekly schedule.

''I set high goals for myself and try my best at everything I do,'' she said.

''I try to push the bar up and like challenging myself.''

Dyke's athletic talent was recognised when she spent six months on an athletics scholarship in the United States.

''I came back inspired, a bit more focused and a bit more determined.''

She has big possibilities in the sport. This year it is the World University Games and the world track and field championships in Russia. Next year, it is the Commonwealth Games.

But the big carrot is the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

''I think I've got another seven or eight years of top sprinting left in me,'' Dyke said.

To get to the two major meetings in Russia next year Dyke must reach the 100m qualifying standard of 11.80sec. Her best time is 12.06sec.

Her attack on the qualifying standard begins with the Lovelock Classic in Timaru on January 5, followed by the Porritt Classic in Hamilton on February 9.

She then travels to Australia for the Sydney Classic and competes in the New Zealand championships in Auckland in March and the Australian championships in Sydney in April.

During the winter, Dyke will race in Japan with the New Zealand relay team and compete in the Oceania championships in Tahiti in late May.

Dyke proved her mettle at the Caledonian Ground on Saturday when she beat everyone else in the short sprints. This included the male athletes.

She won the 60m in 7.70sec and flashed past Oli Chignall (Hill City), who had a 10m handicap, in the last 15m.

She was untouchable in the 100m, winning in 12.15sec from Felix McDonald (Taieri) in 12.52sec and Zoey Flockton (Taieri) in 13.17sec.

It was a lesson in precise sprinting for her opponents.

''I do like to run against the guys because they give me someone to chase,'' she said.

''It felt good to beat them today. It means I'm getting on track for the Lovelock Classic.''

Dyke will have a break from work, but not from training, when she spends the Christmas-New Year break with her family in Alexandra.

Ben Anderson (Caversham) broke away from Daniel Balchin (Christchurch) with 300m left and comfortably won the men's 800m in 1min 56.08 sec. Balchin was timed at 1min 57.70sec.

Joe Beamish (Hill City-University) was third in a personal-best 2min 04.35secNew Zealand junior representative Rebekah Greene (Hill City-University) ran with the men and passed through 400m in 60sec and 600m in 1min 33sec. She ran out of steam down the front straight but still finished in a creditable time of 2min 11.44sec.

Flockton won the women's long jump with 5.26m and Hamish Finnie (Hill City-University) the men's hammer throw with 44.01m.