Distance runners Otago's best prospects

Oli Chignell (20) at the Caledonian Ground yesterday with his three national championship gold...
Oli Chignell at the Caledonian Ground last year. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Otago's distance runners may be its best chances of medals in the senior grades of the weekend's track and field national championships.

The country's best athletes have converged on Christchurch for the championships, which begin today and conclude on Sunday.

Oli Chignell claimed three national titles in 2018 and will defend the first of those in the men's 5000m.

He will have stiff competition though, even from his mates.

Caden Shields, Josh Baan and Jacob Priddey are also contenders in the race.

Fellow distance runner Sam Bremer is entered in the 800m and 1500m, having previously won silver in both events.

Rebekah Greene is also a chance in the women's 1500m.

It will be her first national championships since leaving for the University of Florida in 2013.

The senior women's hammer is another event which could return a medal for Otago.

Mayce Ballantyne and Dyani Shepherd-Oates enter the championships ranked fourth and fifth in the country.

Tori Peeters and Todd Bates are also strong hopes in the javelin and hammer, respectively.

Both have relocated from Otago, although they will represent the province.

In the para events, Otago is likely to figure strongly.

Anna Grimaldi will continue her comeback in the long jump and 100m.

Caitlin Dore and Jess Hamill will both compete for the shot put title, while Dore will also compete in the discus.

Otago has a host of medal prospects in the age grades.

Cameron Moffitt will look to add to his impressive season in the men's under-18 110m hurdles, 300m hurdles and shot put.

Sarah Langsbury and Tara McNally will also both be contenders in the women's under-18 100m hurdles and 300m hurdles.

Langsbury will also compete in the long jump, alongside Emma McKay, who is a chance in the triple jump, as well.

In the under-20 grade Jenna Thorne will be among the contenders in the women's 400m hurdles.

Zharna Beattie is among the top-ranked contenders in the under-18 women's shot put and discus, while Ethan Walker will contend in the under-20 men's javelin.

George Vare is the best sprinting hope, bringing top form into both the under-18 100m and 200m.

In the middle distances Nathan Hill will look to contend, while Shay Veitch will hope to carry on his success in the long jump.


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