New Zealand women's hockey player Anita Punt had often
wondered how competitive she would be in athletics and today
found out the answer is very when lining up against some of
this country's best sprinters.
Punt, who has played 103 tests for the Black Sticks, won both
the 100m and 300m at the International Track Meet at Christ's
College in Christchurch today. She beat the likes of Fiona
Morrison and Kelsey Berryman who own a number of nationals
titles between them.
Punt took out the 300m in 39.6 seconds from Auckland's Zoe
Ballantyne with Morrison third and also won the 100m in a
photo finish over Berryman and Morrison. A strong easterly
made for slow times, with Punt winning the 100m in 12.61
seconds into a 2.9m headwind.
The 25-year-old is now expected to enter next month's
national championships in Auckland, although she will have
little time to focus on sprint training given she will soon
travel to Argentina with the Black Sticks for a five-test
series against the Olympic silver medallists.
"Hockey is still my main focus, definitely, and will always
come first but I think it'll be fun just to see how far I can
go with athletics," Punt said on the eve of today's event.
Nick Willis has gone all the way to an Olympic silver medal
but the strong wind and grass track meant he failed to dip
under the four-minute mile barrier tonight. He faded on the
last lap but still won in a time of 4:08.16, four seconds
ahead of Hugo Beamish with Alex Parlane (4:15.99) in third.
Lucy Van Dalen led for most of the women's Brian Taylor
Memorial 3000m but was outsprinted in the final 80m by Susan
Kuijken of the Netherlands, a triple medallist at NCAA level
in the US college system.
Tom Walsh set a new personal best of 19.83m in the men's shot
put and is closing on the 20.10m qualifying mark for this
year's world championships. He added 50cm to his personal
best and easily beat Damien Birkenhead of Australia, who
recorded a best of 17.56m.