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Nick Willis moves up to 5000m

Nick Willis moves up to the 5000m at the New Zealand Championships

Nick Willis for 5000m

Nick Willis for 5000m

Olympic 1500m silver medallist Nick Willis will contest the 5000m at the New Zealand track and field championships in Dunedin this weekend.Willis explained that he is into mileage training at the moment and his coach wanted him to race the 5000m which was more in keeping with his training.

“My coach didn’t want me to back off the training, to put some pop in my legs for the 1500m,” said Willis.

He has a best 5000m of 13m 27.54s set in Sacramento California in June 2005.
Willis said that the weather conditions at the time of the race at the Caledonian Stadium, will determine what time he will run.
“I’m strong and fit from the mileage I’ve been doing and I would like a solid run, but we will have to wait a see what part the weather plays in that,” he said.

The 5000m is the last event on Friday’s programme at 5.15pm.

Also in the 5000m field is the 2007 champion Rees Buck of Wellington, Luke Hurring of Canterbury who has run the fastest this season of 14m 4.36s, Hayden McLaren with 14m 12.40s this season and Tim Hodge 14m 16.93s. McLaren is also entered in the 800m and 1500m.

Olympic, Commonwealth and World shot put champion Valerie Adams will be competing at 2.45pm on Saturday and will be going for her 11th national shot put title.

Adams has competed twice this season with world leading performances of 20.33m at the Auckland championships and 20.55m in Sydney last Saturday.
“Going for eleventh title, last comp of the season and I’m looking forward to it,” said Adams.

The 20.33m improved on her New Zealand allcomers and resident record and Adams could well add further centimetres to these records in Dunedin.

World junior shot put champion Jacko Gill has opted for the M19 shot put final on Saturday at 12.15pm.
“I’ve done all I need to do with the 5kg shot so I’m having a go at the world record for 18 and 19 year olds with the 6kg shot,” said Gill.

The 16 year old already holds just about every world age shot put record including for 14, 15, 16 and 17 year olds with the 6kg shot.

The record he is aiming for on Saturday with the 6kg shot is 22.73m held by German David Storl since 2009.

Gill said that he has been concentrating on training in recent weeks rather than competing.

“Training has been going well, the strength levels needed improving so I have been building up in a good hard training block,” he said.
Tom Walsh will be defending his senior shot title, while Marshall Hall will be keen to make it three years in a row in the senior discus throw.

Delhi Commonwealth Games double silver medallist Nikki Hamblin will be defending her 800m and 1500m titles on Saturday with the 1500m on Sunday.

Hamblin has raced sparingly this season but has produced two fine performances, a 2m 5.42s 800m at the Porritt Classic and top run of 8m 50.92s over 3000m.

Brent Newdick Commonwealth Games decathlon silver medallist has entered in seven events over the three days of the championships; the 100m, 110m hurdles, pole vault, triple jump, long jump, shot put and discus throw. Newdick is the defending champion in the hurdles, pole vault and the long and triple jumps.

Philip Jensen will be seeking his 17th title in the hammer throw. Jensen who first won in 1988, has collected the title for the last 13 years in a row. At title number 17 Jensen will be one away from equalling Dave Norris in the triple jump and Valerie Young in the discus, record of 18 titles in the same event.

Stuart Farquhar, silver medallist in Delhi, has won the javelin title ten times and will be looking to secure title number 11 and his tenth in a row. Farquhar said that it will be only his second competition this season.
“I’ve been training hard and I will be looking to throw further than the 80.51m I threw at the Porritt Classic,” said Farquhar.
The last athlete to throw over 80 metres in winning the national title was Gavin Lovegrove with 83.16m in 1992.

Unfortunately Andrea Miller is back on the injured list and at this stage will not be competing in the 100m hurdles. Miller, the bronze medallist in Delhi, has won the title on four previous occasions.

Carl Van der Speck will be going for a hat trick of wins in the 100m having won for the last two years. He is also entered in the 200m. Michael Cochrane has entered in the M19 110m hurdles where he is looking to lower his New Zealand record. He will also be up against James Mortimer in the senior 400m hurdles.

Anna Smythe will face a strong field that includes Rochelle Coster and Andrea Koenen in her defence of the women’s 100m title. Koenen will be defending her 200m title, as will Louise Jones in the 400m and Fiona Crombie in the 3000m steeplechase. Monique Williams will only be competing in the relays at the championships.
Recent record breakers Julia Ratcliffe in the hammer throw and Kerry Charlesworth in the pole vault will be competing in both the senior and W19 events. Elizabeth Lamb in the high jump will also be competing in both grades.

In the W19 middle and long distance races interest will centre on the performances of Angela Smit in the 800m, Hannah Newbould in the 1500m and Danielle Trevis in the 5000m.

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