Bruce goes far at memorial meet

Olympic hammer throw representative Lauren Bruce, of South Canterbury, in action at the...
Olympic hammer throw representative Lauren Bruce, of South Canterbury, in action at the Caledonian on Thursday.
Lauren Bruce admitted to feeling plenty of nerves last night.

There was certainly no hint of them in her performance, though.

The South Canterbury hammer thrower unleashed three throws over 70m at the Yvette Williams Memorial Meeting, her first competition since last year’s Tokyo Olympics.

It was the first time that barrier had been broken at the Caledonian Ground.

Olivia Ellis (17), of Taieri, in action in the high jump at the Yvette Williams Memorial...
Olivia Ellis (17), of Taieri, in action in the high jump at the Yvette Williams Memorial athletics event yesterday at Dunedin’s Caledonian Ground. PHOTOS: GREGOR RICHARDSON

Her best throw of 72.15m set a new ground record, eclipsing that of a former overseas training partner of Bruce’s.

"It’s pretty cool," the 24-year-old said.

"I haven’t competed in Dunedin since 2016. It’s pretty special to come back down here.

Sarah Jamison (17), of the North Otago team, in the 100m hurdles.
Sarah Jamison (17), of the North Otago team, in the 100m hurdles.

"The ground record I broke was a French girl called Alexandra Taverneir. I was training with her while we were competing overseas before the Olympics.

"It was pretty cool to come in and throw over that."

Bruce, who set the New Zealand record of 74.61m in May last year, had been pleased with the performance.

She had only begun throwing 4kg hammers again on Wednesday and said the distances were "pretty good for this time of the year".

It also allowed her to tick one more ground off her 70m bucket list.

"I think now it’s pretty cool to come in and do it on a venue and know that’s the first 70m throw here," she said.

"I’ve got a bucket list of grounds I want to throw 70m at now. One of them is Timaru, which is my home ground, where I grew up.

"It’s pretty cool to come and do it and know you’re the first one out here throwing that far. Hopefully the other kids around are seeing that and imagining themselves doing it."

Her best throw left her just 35cm off the A standard qualifier for the World Championships, to be held in Oregon later this year.

She said that extra distance would come during the domestic season, in which she had a full schedule of competitions lined up.

A stint overseas, likely in the United States, was on the agenda following that.

Mike Scholten, of Taieri, in the hammer throw.
Mike Scholten, of Taieri, in the hammer throw.

However, that would depend on the Covid-19 situation.

Bruce would also compete at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which she has already qualified for.

Following Bruce in last night’s competition was Taieri’s Dyani Shepherd-Oates, who finished second with a throw of 55.26m.

Canterbury’s Lexi Maples came in third with 54.84m, while Taieri’s Mayce Ballantyne delivered 51.22m to come in fourth.

The Yvette Williams Memorial Meeting was being held for the second time, having begun a year ago.

It commemorates the Otago Olympic long jump champion and places an emphasis on the events she competed in.

 Anna Grimaldi competes in the long jump.
Anna Grimaldi competes in the long jump.

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