30 Sep 2019

Kerr on a high ahead of World Champs

9:15 am on 30 September 2019

New Zealand high jumper Hamish Kerr believes there is a changing of the guard at international level in the men's competition and he's keen to be one of the new contenders on the rise.

Hamish Kerr at the NZ Track and Field Championships. 2019


Kerr will compete at the World Athletics Championships in Doha this week with a ranking that has him in the top ten.

The 23-year-old equalled the New Zealand record of 2.30 metres at the Oceania Championships in Townsville in June, a height that is just 5cm of the world leading performances so far this year.

That height equalled the New Zealand record set by Glenn Howard in 2000, the last New Zealander men's high jumper to compete at the Olympics.

While he's hoping to perform well, the 1.98m tall Kerr admits Doha will primarily be a good learning opportunity for next year's Tokyo Olympics.

"I'm just going to go in there and learn as much as I can and see what experiences I can pick up, in saying that I'm also going to compete and perform and I think I'm in a good space and my body is in a good place to do that."

He's not looking at a specific height in Doha, rather than process he wants to go though.

"It's all about how I can just be at my best and what my run up is doing and where I'm taking off from and if I can nail all those things there's no reason why I can't get up to 2.30m or even higher and be in the running."

The temperatures in Doha will hit the high 30's while the lows won't be much lower than that.... that'll be an issue for the endurance athletes.

However that doesn't bother Kerr too much.

"It's good for us, obviously muscle temperature the warmer it is the more powerful you are, so as long as I don't over heat then I'll be using it my advantage because personally I love the heat so I'm really excited for it."

After finishing his studies in Palmerston North, Kerr moved south to Christchurch in late 2017 to be closer to his coach Terry Lomax, a former New Zealand representative in decathlon and high jump.

He feels that is when he really started to make strides in his performances.

Kerr believes the men's high jump is a lot more open than it has been for a number of years and he puts himself in a bunch of new talent coming through.

"There are a couple of guys who have been up the top of their game for the last five to seven years, but they're getting a bit older now they're starting to drop off, while there's a bunch of new talent, myself included, coming through into that."

"So it's kind of a cool opportunity really as generally you can pick the top three guys most years, but this year it's blown wide open."

Kerr will compete in qualifying in Doha on Wednesday morning and hopefully the final on Saturday morning.

Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar will dehind his title in Doha.