Saturday, May 25, 2024

Pakuranga Athletics Club cleans up at NZ track & field champs 

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Pakuranga Athletic’s Imogen Barlow was the most successful of the club’s athletes, winning three national titles.

Pakuranga Athletic Club has had outstanding success at the recent New Zealand Track and Field Championships in Wellington, with eight of its members securing national titles.

The junior athletes led the way with Imogen Barlow winning an unprecedented three national titles – in the women’s under 16 800m, 1500m and 3000m – and Ben Oxford being crowned men’s under 16 champion over the 1500m and 3000m distances.

The club’s other national champions included Yandri Fourie (WU16 3000m racewalk), Noah Retford (MU18 300m hurdles), Antonie Smal (MU18 javelin), James Trathen (MU18 800m), Toby Tasker (MU20 3000m steeplechase) and Christian De Vaal (MU20 5000m).

Club president Mike Trathen says that it was an outstanding achievement for the club to have 26 athletes who met the tough qualifying criteria to be eligible to compete at New Zealand’s pinnacle athletics event.

Christian De Vaal, winner of the men’s U20 3000m ahead of club member Ronan Codyre. 

“To come away from the four-day competition with 11 new national title holders and nine other podium finishes (2nd or 3rd place) far exceeded the club’s expectations,” says Trathen.

The National Track and Field Championship is the climax of the 2022/23 athletics season and this was arguably the Pakuranga Athletic club’s most successful event ever.

The championships saw New Zealand Olympic stars and up-and-coming talent compete over four days from Thursday, March 2 at Wellington’s Newtown Park.

NZ Olympic personalities competing included shot-putters Maddison-Lee Wesche, Jacko Gill, Tom Walsh and female pole vaulters Eliza McCartney, Olivia McTaggart and Imogen Ayris to name a few.

“The wide range of events that athletes won national titles in – including middle distance, steeplechase, hurdles, racewalks and javelin – is illustrative of the breadth of talent within the club,” Trathen says.

Trathen also acknowledged the skill of the club’s coaches in ensuring that athletes peaked at the right time.

The club’s attention now moves to its winter cross-country and road running programme and hopefully more success at national level. The cross-country programme caters for all members of the community aged four years and older.

New members of all abilities are welcome at the Pakuranga Athletic Club. All enquiries to jxcr@pakurangaathletics.nz.

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