Athletics: Two Oceania gold medals for Jopp

Robert Jopp
Robert Jopp
Robert Jopp (Hill City-University) was the best-performed Otago athlete at the Oceania athletics championships and returned home with two gold medals.

Jopp (18), a pupil at John McGlashan College, won a gold medal in the men's open 400m in a personal-best time of 48.44sec and was a member of the winning New Zealand team in the 4x400m relay.

Jopp gained selection after winning the New Zealand men's under 20 400m title at the national championships in Auckland in a time of 48.50sec.

He is a key member of Brent Ward's sprint squad and proved in Tahiti he has the temperament to perform at international level.

Jopp qualified for the final with his heat time of 49.46sec in humid conditions when temperatures reached 29degC.

Jopp was a key member of the relay team that won the event in 3min 21.26sec. The other team members were Bill Smart, Bill Cowper and Tom Symes.

The other Otago athlete competing in Papeete was Queen's High School pupil Christina Ashton (Taieri), who was a member of the gold medal-winning New Zealand women's under-18 4x100m relay team. The winning time was 50.73sec.

Ashton (15) was competing against athletes who were two years older than herself.

She won the bronze medal in the 100m final in 13.03sec. Her heat time was 13.32sec. Ashton finished sixth in her heat of the 100m hurdles and did not qualify for the final.

The English sisters, Hanna and Sian, were selected for the championships in the 1500m and 3000m but decided not to compete because of the cost.

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