Zharna gives sisters something to aim for

Beattie sisters Shyah, Zharna and Neve compete with each to throw or jump further. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Beattie sisters Shyah, Zharna and Neve compete with each to throw or jump further. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Beating the Beatties - the sibling rivalry which is driving three sisters to throw or leap as far as they can.

Zharna Beattie probably summed it up best.

The 16-year-old Taieri College pupil recently smashed the school's senior girls shot put record with a 12.17m effort.

The previous record of 10.73m had stood since 1976. Zharna also eclipsed the discus record. Her throw of 39.14m was more than 3.5m further that the previous mark set in 1993.

They were two mammoth throws but there are two quality competitors lining up to claim the records in the coming years - her sisters, Shyah (14) and Neve (13).

''I have to set the records far enough so that they don't beat them,'' she said.

''That would be terrible.''

Zharna is safe for now. She is the No2 ranked under-18 discus thrower and No3 ranked shot putter in the country and has been selected in the New Zealand team for the Oceania Area Championships in Queensland in June.

Her goal is to finish in the top five in both events at the tournament. Whatever the result, it will be a tremendous experience for the young athlete.

While Zharna sticks to the throwing events when it comes to athletics, Shyah and Neve have an extra event in which they can compete with each other - long jump.

The three girls do not actually compete against each other because they are in different age-groups. But they were aware of what each other was able to achieve and knew how that compared with their own performances.

Shyah is eyeing up Zharna's discus marks.

''I've got one of her records from the Otago children's athletics this year. And most of her other records I'm not too far off.''

Neve broke the school's under-13 girls long jump record with a leap of 4.45m earlier this year, so she has those bragging rights.

She has a best jump of 4.67m. Her shot put is a work in progress and the ''discus is going pretty good''.

All three of the sisters play social netball and basketball as well.

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