22 Apr 2016

Ten strong track and field team named for Rio

4:47 pm on 22 April 2016

Ten New Zealand athletes have been named in the initial track and field squad for the Rio Olympics.

The team includes a mix of experience and young talent with three athletes, shot putter Valerie Adams, 1500m runner Nick Willis and javelin thrower Stuart Farquhar set to compete in their fourth Olympics.

Val Adams competes at the London Olympics 2012.

Val Adams Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Six athletes will be attending their first Olympics.

Valerie Adams is the defending Olympic champion but is still working her way back into form after surgery last year while Willis won a silver medal in the 1500m at the Beijing Games in 2008.

Last year he set a New Zealand record for 1500m and finished sixth in the event at the World Championships.

Nick Willis crosses the line third at the Beijing Olympics.

Nick Willis crosses the line at the Beijing Olympics. Photo: Photosport

Willis said he feels a greater sense of purpose heading into Rio.

"There's not really any of the distractions that come along with an Olympic Games ..in my third one I was flagbearer so there was a lot of focus on that and I was still trying to figure my way at the first couple so (in Rio) it's just about getting down to business and trying to make amends for what I thought was a disappointing performance in London."

After winning a silver medal in Beijing in 2008 he finished ninth in London.

Meanwhile Stuart Farquhar admitted that his fourth Olympics would be his final.

When asked about the current state of affairs in athletics, Farquhar said he would prefer that Russian and Kenyan athletes don't compete at the games.

Both the Russian and Kenyan Athletics Federations have been under a cloud of controversy over wide-spread doping allegations.

The International Athletics Federation has since banned all Russian athletes from all athletics competitions.

Meanwhile the Kenyan Athletics Federation has failed to meet two World Anti-Doping Agency deadlines to prove it's cleaning up the sport in its country which could lead WADA to declaring the East African Country as non-compliant.

Farquhar said having both nations at the Olympics would be unfair on the other athletes.

"If people are doing it out there it's disgusting, I don't like it.

"A lot of people get disadvantaged in actually making it to these events by those who do do it so it's horrible that it's out there but it is out there, you just have to look past it and focus on your own little goals that you've got to achieve."

Newly crowned world indoor shot put champion Tom Wash has forced himself into medal contention for Rio, with a commanding win in Portland last month.

Over the past 12 months, Walsh has beaten all the potential medallists at least once and has been one of the most consistent athletes in the shot put.

The youngest athlete named in the team 19 year old is pole vaulter Eliza McCartney who set a world junior record last year and is now ranked fifth in the world.

Eliza McCartney competes in the Pole Vault at the New Zealand track and field championships, 2016.

Eliza McCartney Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The team also includes Nikki Hamblin in the 1500m, Angie Petty in the 800m, Quentin Rew in the 50km walk, Zane Robertson in the 10 000m and Jacko Gill in the shot put.

Athletics New Zealand Chief Executive Linda Hammersley said she's pleased with calibre of the squad.

"Our team is an exciting mix of multi-medal winning Olympic and World Champions and new emerging talent selected for their first Games, across a broad spread of event disciplines from shotput to 10,000m."

The team could still be increased with another ten athletes having a realistic chance of reaching qualifying standards.

A further selection announcement will take place in July.