Athletics: World champs beckon pair

Taieri athletes Rory McSweeney and Holly Robinson can pack their bags for France.

They qualified for July's world paralympic championships in Lyon at the Otago championships at the Caledonian Ground on Saturday. The Otago championships and the national championships are the IAAF-sanctioned meetings where qualifying standards can be recognised.

McSweeney (25), a personal trainer at Les Mills gymnasium, qualified when he finished runner-up in the senior men's javelin on the opening day of the Otago championships.

The qualifying standard was 45m which McSweeney beat with four of his six throws.

His sequence of throws were 45.61m, 46.07m, 44.67m, 43.82m, 46.15m and 47.59m. His best was a personal best by 80cm.

McSweeney, who competes in the CF 44 below-the-knee amputee grade, shifted from Wellington to Dunedin two years ago to train with coach Raylene Bates.

He has two carbon-fibre blades to use on his left leg - one for daily use, with a heel, and one for athletics, without a heel.

''It was a good performance by Rory because he dislocated his left knee before Christmas and has just been able to get back into training,'' Bates said.

Since coming to Dunedin he has improved his distance by a massive 8.69m.

Robinson (18), an arm amputee, moved from her home in Hokitika to Dunedin in 2011 to train with Bates.

She was born with a shortened left arm just below the elbow and competes in the F46 class.

Robinson, a pupil at Taieri College, finished seventh in the Paralympics javelin at London last year with a throw of 32.58m.

Her qualifying mark is 30m and she beat it when winning the senior women's title with 30.62m and the AWD title with 30.73m.

Taieri thrower Michael Scholten (35), another Bates-trained athlete, won his first Otago senior men's title with his javelin throw of 49.62m.

It was an Otago masters aged 35 to 39 record and a huge personal best by 5m.

The record came on his fourth throw after Bates instructed him to bring his throwing arm closer to his body as he prepared to throw his implement.

Scholten also beat the masters men's shot put record in his age group with his winning put of 12.14m.

Bates was also in form when she won the senior women's discus with 33.74m and the masters women's shot put with 10.49m.

Dean Rusbatch (Taieri) equalled the Otago men's 18 shot put record with his winning put of 15.32m. It was a personal best by 19cm and equalled the mark Kieran Fowler (Taieri) set in 2007 with the 6kg implement.

Shaun Markham (Hill City-University) won the junior AWD discus with 10.10m and clubmate Matthew Aitken the senior AWD event with 20.90m.

Daniel O'Shea (Hill City-University) won the senior men's 400m hurdles in 52.20sec in his first race in the event for two years.

''I ran the first 200m conservatively and came home strongly,'' he said.

''It was a good hit-out.''

It gave O'Shea the confidence to know he can reach the qualifying standard of 50.80sec for the World Student Games in Russia later this year.

The most promising performance in the sprints came from David Elliott, an engineering student at Canterbury University, who displayed the fastest leg speed of the day when winning the junior men's 100m in 11.07sec and the senior men's 200m in 22.13sec.

Jasmine Ng (North Otago), a pupil at Waitaki Girls' High School, ran the fastest women's sprint time of the day when winning the women's aged 15 100m in 13sec.

Taieri's Christina Ashton (15) ran the fastest women's 200m when winning the aged 16 and 17 title in 26.53sec. Maddy Spence (Hill City-University) was second in 26.73sec.

Liz Wilson (Hill City-University) smashed the masters women's aged 50 to 54 400m record with her winning time of 64.94sec.

George Woodhouse (Hill City-University) improved by 26cm when he won the men's aged 17 long jump with 6.01m.