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Hamish Carson wins 4th title

hamish carson

New Zealand Track and Field Championships, Newtown Park – 28/30 March 2014
Hamish Carson lapped up the atmosphere revelling in front of his home crowd to win his fourth national 1500m title out kicking school days arch rival Julian Matthews.

Mathews went for the doctor down the back straight on the last lap, but Carson stuck to his shoulder and entering the final straight let rip with hair flowing to hold him out in 3:46.23. Matthews clocked 3:46.61. Delighted with his win Carson did a victory lap, possibly the first at a national championship.

“I knew it would come down to the last 100m, Julian’s  got a very good kick, the last time he out-sprinted me was at the New Zealand secondary schools champs, so I’ve wanted to get him back ever since then. I was really pleased I could do it today on my home track,” said Carson.

Matthews said that you always have to watch out for Carson.

“He’s got a fantastic kick – we’ve had a rivalry all through high school and this is the first time I’ve raced him since high school. He had the better of me today which is a little bit disappointing,” he said.

The men’s 1500m has always been considered the blue riband of any national championship, however this year the middle distance running was up staged by an unprecedented interest in field events and more importantly the shot put.

Olympic and world champion Valerie Adams was first up in front of a large spectator audience on the Saturday afternoon and she showed why she is the world leader in the event with a world’s best for this year of 20.46m. In fact her four recorded attempts were all over 20 metres the 20.46m followed by 20.38m, 20.43m and 20.29m.

“It was all about consistency today, with every throw over 20 metres. There is still more in me to go,” said Adams.

Although Adams is on top of the world she is still weary of those coming up.

“These young ones that are coming up around the world they keep me on my toes so I am the hunted now, they are trying to hunt me down so I’ve got to try and stay ahead of them – two steps ahead,” she added.

Adams said that it was great for the sport having the shot put as centre stage at these championships.

“It’s fantastic, great for the publicity it has brought into track and field. I feel like the warm up game before the boys come out and have a real match,” said Adams.

World indoors championships bronze medallist Tom Walsh led from round two with 20.13m in the men’s shot put, improving to a New Zealand resident record of 20.59m in the next round and a New Zealand all-comers and resident record of 20.79m in his last attempt. He broke Jacko Gill’s resident record of 20.38m and Geoff Capes 1980 all-comers record of 20.76m.

Jacko Gill was out to 19.93m in round two securing for him a Commonwealth Games selection B performance.

Walsh said he was pretty happy with how it went.

“I had a good warm up throw, so I felt good but it just didn’t come together in the comp today. I’m pretty happy but obviously not the big throw of over 21 metres that I wanted,” he said.

He said that it has been a remarkable month, where things have gone quite well for him.

“One thing changes everything; I’ve gone from not having much media at all to having quite a few phone calls a day since I got home about it. I’ve tried to take it in my stride and not let it get on top of me which I think I’ve done all right with,” said Walsh.

Gill was philosophical in being beaten by Walsh.

“I never go out to lose, my goal today was more about a distance and I wanted to get over 20 metres and over my PB, but I didn’t do that, but I qualified for the Comm Games so I’m pretty happy with that,” said Gill.

He said that he put all the media build-up to the event behind him.

“It is a sport where you’ve got to worry about your own individual performance,” he added.

Dale Pritchard of Tasman, sixth last year was third with 15.82m. He said that it was great to be throwing with two outstanding shot putters.

“It was nerve wracking watching these guys throw so far and all the crowd but it’s good,” he said.

Pritchard who has a PB of 16.31m says his next goal is to qualify for Oceania Championships. He also took the silver medal in the discus throw.

Philip Jensen lived up to his record in the hammer throw stamping his authority on the event with his opening throw of 61.85m. Ryan Tinkle went close to toppling his coach with 60.98m, but Jensen prevailed to extend his number of titles in the event to 20, 17 consecutive and 26 years since he first won.

“I was pretty fired up to get my 20th title and it was good to have my family here watching me,” said Jensen in the wake of his success. “They have been unbelievable in their support, particularly my wife, Katrina, and that’s who I was gesturing to.

“Today a few technical flaws crept in and I would like to have thrown a bit further, but I was happy with my series. Five throws were over 60m – and I don’t think I’ve thrown as far as I did today at a national championships for four years.

“I was absolutely delighted for Ryan (who is 24 years Phil’s junior) to throw a PB. For him to get over 60m is a big barrier – similar to the four-minute barrier for hammer throwers.”

Jensen said that he has now won a title in each of his teenage daughter’s 17 years.

Tori Peeters not only bettered her national junior javelin throw record but also broke Kirsten Hellier’s senior national and resident record with a throw of 54.45m.

“I was hoping to get the record that was definitely the goal for the day. The techniques worked out and we’ve been working on it pretty hard at training,” she said.

Stuart Farquhar said that it made him feel old after winning his fourteenth javelin title with 78.16m.

“It’s a good feeling though. I was pretty happy with a lot of the aspects of my throwing today. I was after a B qualifier that was the bottom line but I’m happy with how my body is with the run up, just feeling good but haven’t made a connection into the javelin yet. There is going to be some good throws coming,” he said.

Ben Langton-Burnell was happy with his PB of 74.69m in second place.

The windy conditions over the weekend were favourable for the throwers with Marshall Hall winning his fifth discus title in an Otago record and PB of 58.25m

Joseph Millar made it three years in a row in the sprint double, while Louise Jones took out the women’s 200m/400m double. Another notable double in the middle distance events was Angie Smit winning the 800m/1500m heading in Nikki Hamblin on both occasions.

Smit, who kicked away from Hamblin over the final 100m of the 1500m, said of completing the double: “I’m really, really happy. I sat in for what was a slow first lap because of the wind before going to the front. I was hoping for the double but it wasn’t easy because of the tough competition.”

Hamblin said that she tried to hang with Smit as long as she could in the 800m.

“I tried to put a bit of pressure on her, I guess I sort of but I didn’t have the extra gear. I did 2:09 in Christchurch four weeks ago and had no gears there at all. This is my second competitive 800m race this year and my second competitive 800m in about three years. It’s coming, it’s coming back quick I’ve just run out of races this season,” said Hamblin who will not be competing in the Australian championships.

Jones had acupuncture on her right leg a hour before the 400m final.

“My hip stuck with the tendon in there but it held up well after the acupuncture. I’m happy to have won as I’ve been working towards it all year,” said Jones.

Fiona Morrison was a surprise winner of the women’s 100m and had no trouble retaining her title in the 100m hurdles.

“It was a bit of a shock, I didn’t expect to win the 100m, I thought I might get a medal. I just seemed to come right on the day, I’ve been working on my finish and I had a decent start,” said Morrison.

Michael Cochrane triumphed over Joshua Hawkins in the 110m hurdles but was unable to hold out Cameron French in the 400m hurdles.

“It was a good race, Cam came through really strong and it was good to see that he peaked for the right time of the season. It should have been faster without that wind – but that was the best we could do in those conditions,” said Cochrane.

French’s father Graeme won the national 100m/200m double in 1978. French said that he decided to go for it from the seventh hurdle.

“I knew that Michael would go hard early on, he’s a great hurdler so I just tried to stick with him and hold my finish and try and get through. It is good to get a PB (50.16) I try to get faster and faster every day so hopefully I can dip under the 50 seconds soon,” he said.

Matthew Wyatt won the long jump with 7.65m while his brother Phillip also retained his title in the triple jump with 15.45m.

Alex Jordan just edged out a fading Tama Toki in the 400m, to win his third title in 47.83, 0.01 of a second ahead of Toki.

Jordan said that he had peaked for the race while Toki said it was the worst that he had ever tied up in a race.

“I tied up really bad, it’s just one of those things with the 400m. It’s a shame I did it in the biggest race of the year, but I’ve got to learn from that, it’s disappointing I’ve got to come back next year now,” said Toki.

Daniel Balchin, twenty minutes after finishing fourth in the 1500m in 3:48.11 returned to the track to retain his 3000m steeplechase title in 9:26.28.

Rosa Flanagan won the women’s steeplechase in emphatic style in 9:57.47 and also had no trouble winning the junior women’s 1500m in 4:25.23.

Sian English won the junior 5000m in 17:25.82 coming on top of taking out the junior women’s road title and the secondary schools road title within the last six months.

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