8 Mar 2015

Walsh and Gill to go head to head

9:55 am on 8 March 2015

South Canterbury's Tom Walsh takes on Auckland's Jacko Gill for the national shot put title today, in one of the most eagerly awaited events at the New Zealand track and field championships in Wellington.

It'll be the first time the two men have competed since last year's Glasgow Commonwealth Games, when Walsh won silver and Gill finished 11th.

The shot put starts at 12.30 this afternoon.

Former Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis also runs the 1500 metres at 2.15pm.

South Canterbury's national shot put champion Tom Walsh

South Canterbury's Tom Walsh will try to defend his national shot put title on Sunday Photo: Photosport

On Saturday, teenager Matthew Bloxham ended the domination of 20-times hammer champion Phillip Jensen.

The lead changed numerous times during the event with 47-year-old Jensen taking the lead with a throw of 61.23 metres in the fifth round.

But 18-year-old Bloxham unleashed a personal best 63.50 metres on his final throw to deny Jensen his 21st title.

South Canterbury's Tom Walsh is in action on Sunday in one of the most eagerly awaited of the events at the championships, as he takes on Auckland's Jacko Gill for the national shot put title.

Te Rina Keenan took out the women's shot put competition in the absence of Valerie Adams with a modest heave of 15.03 metres.

Angie Petty won her fourth 800 metres title with a brave front-running performance, ahead of double Commonwealth Games medallist Nikki Hamblin.

The men's 800 was also a quality race with three-time New Zealand champion Brad Mathas of Canterbury just edged by US Olympian Andrew Wheating in the last few metres, though like Rosa Flanagan, who lost the 3000 metres steeplechase final to Kenyan star Magdalene Massai, Mathas retained his title.

Stuart Farquhar won his 15th javelin title with a throw of 78.17 metres.

Tama Toki from Auckland won his first senior national title in the 400 metres in 47.47 seconds, while Louise Jones retained her women's 400 title in 55.28.

Wellington's Keely O'Hagan and Liz Lamb of Auckland both cleared 1.84 metres in the women's high jump, but O'Hagan claimed the victory on the countback from the three-time previous champion.

Aucklander Portia Bing provided somewhat of an upset in the women's 100 metres hurdles, beating the fancied Rochelle Coster and Kelsey Berryman to take her second title of the championships, adding to her long jump victory the previous day. Bing's winning time was 13.74.

The men's 110 metres hurdles title went to Auckland's Joshua Hawkins in 14.41 seconds, well clear of Jack Henry and Stephen Isaac.

Matthew Wyatt was the clear favourite in the men's long jump, but was upstaged by Manawatu's Jordan Peters. Distances were affected by very challenging conditions with heavy rain falling throughout the competition and Wyatt could only get out to 6.95 metres, 0.22 behind Peters.

The expected world masters record attempt by current world record holder Mike Powell did not eventuate, after Powell warmed up but was unable to jump due to back and leg problems.

"The conditions today were the worst I've ever seen at a track meet. My back tightened up and I had to pull out of the competition. It would have taken a Herculean effort to break the record today. It's all good, I'll go home and get my body ready to jump in a few months. God's timing, not mine! It ain't over!" says Powell.

Waikato Bay of Plenty took out the men's 4x100 metres relay title while Auckland were clear victors in the women's event.