Athletics: Records tumble at Caledonian

Clockwise from right: Holly Robinson, of Westland High School, on her way to breaking the...
Clockwise from right: Holly Robinson, of Westland High School, on her way to breaking the national AWD PD record in the discus with a throw of 27.15m during the South Island secondary schools athletics championships at the Caledonian Ground on Saturday. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Record-breaking performances and personal bests highlighted the South Island secondary schools championships at the Caledonian Ground on Saturday.

Leading the assault on the record books was Westland High School's Holly Robinson.

The Hokitika 15-year-old had the Midas touch, particularly in field events, smashing two national AWD PD (athlete with disability, permanent disability) records and breaking five championship records.

Robinson was born without any growth just below her left elbow, but is competitive in both able-bodied and paralympic competition, and has won medals at world junior and youth games.

Apart from holding several Westland High School records in able-bodied athletics events, she assisted the Old Girls netball team to an age-group championship last year, playing in defence.

Her aim going into Saturday's competition was to better 25m in her specialist discipline, the javelin.

"That is the distance I needed to target to qualify for the World Para Games," she said.

"But I need to do this at an IPC-sanctioned event."

The South Island secondary schools championships do not fit into this category and she needs to repeat the feat at either next weekend's national track and field championships in Christchurch or the Australian national championships.

Her record javelin throw of 27.49m, bettering her previous best by 4m, gave her a huge confidence boost.

Robinson's other national record was set in the discus with a distance of 27.15m.

Apart from establishing national records in javelin and discus, Robinson broke championship records in the 100m (16.14sec), long jump (3.79m) and shot put (9.27m).

And although she will contest shot put and the 100m next weekend, it is the javelin she wishes to qualify in for the world paralympic championships in Christchurch in January.

Stand-out performances in field events dominated the meeting, with Tori Peters (St Peter's College) missing the 21-year-old javelin record for girls aged 16 by just 1cm.

Peters, who won the grade with 38.69m, took consolation in the fact that she had bettered sister Stacey's winning mark (36.92m) in the girls aged 17 competition to claim family bragging rights.

Will Wright (Timaru Boys' High School) may have been the shortest competitor in the senior boys' javelin competition, but he was a class act, and it was his third round throw of 62.43m that had him threatening the 21-year-old record of 64.22m.

In track events, Toby Bachelor (John McGlashan) backed up his 3000m victory on Friday evening with an impressive victory in the 1500m on Saturday, recording 4min 17.91sec to win the boys' 16 title.

In the senior boys' competition, twin brothers Sam and Cameron Mills (Christchurch Boys High) also impressed.

Sam winning the senior title in 4min 8.51sec with Cameron second in 4min 9.48sec.

The competition brought out the potential of Bella Bloomfield (Otago Girls' High School) when she won the senior girls' 800m in a personal best by over 5sec recording 2min 23.53sec.

Another athlete to watch for in the future is Margot Gibson (St Margaret's, Christchurch), who won the 1500m for girls' 16 effortlessly in 4min 49.07sec, after holding a 10sec advantage going into the final 400m.

It was not the race Phillipa Symes (Wanganui) was seeking but she still impressed into a strong wind to win the 100m hurdles at an interclub meeting held at the Caledonian Ground yesterday.

Symes strained a hamstring at the World Youth Games in Italy last July, and admits to not giving it a full chance to recover because of her desire to play hockey.

"I'm the captain. So I have to front and lead by example," she said of her hockey.

A representative of both Manawatu and Wanganui in hockey, Symes is the daughter of former Black Stick Anna Matthews.

Symes contested the hurdles event yesterday as preparation for the national championships in Christchurch next weekend, winning in 16.97sec.

Symes also won the junior women's 100m in 13.18sec.

Another athlete on track for national honours next weekend and with a goal to be in the paralympic squad for the London Olympics, is Allistair Johnston, who impressed with his speed and drive in the 100m (18.88sec), 200m (32.61sec), and 400m (61.62sec).

Otago may have a new 100m star emerging in Oamaru's Jasmine Ng, who broke the grade 11 girls' 100m record for the second time in less than a month at a quadrangular graded race in Christchurch on Saturday.

Ng took 0.02sec off the record three weeks ago, but impressively swiped a further 0.09sec from it yesterday to clock in at 13.67sec.


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