3 Jul 2023

Zoe Hobbs qualifies for Paris Olympics

7:05 pm on 3 July 2023
New Zealand sprinter Zoe Hobbs.

Zoe Hobbs. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Zoe Hobbs has qualified for the Paris Olympics with a time of 10.96 seconds to become just the fifth New Zealand female sprinter to achieve the feat in nearly 100 years.

Last Friday Hobbs opened up her Europe season at the Lausanne Diamond League to record a time of 11.20 secs.

She then recorded a time of 10.96 in the heats at the World Athletics Continental Tour Challenger in Switzerland over night to secure her place in Paris.

The Kiwi sprinter not only won her race, she also recorded a new national and area record.

The 26-year-old was not expecting to run so quick.

"When I saw the time come up I couldn't believe it. I didn't think I would run that time, especially given the conditions. It was 15 degrees at the time of that race with a 20 minute delay leading into the start. The wind was all over the shop with head and tail winds," Hobbs said.

"I didn't think I would run a PB in the heat at all. I thought maybe a chance of doing the qualifier, but definitely not a PB. It was a bit of a shock when I saw what the time was."

Hobbs will now be focusing on her lead up to the World Track and Field Championships in Budapest in August.

"I'm absolutely stoked to have done the Qualifier time early. It takes a massive weight off my shoulders and makes a big difference leading into the rest of the season. I don't have to chase the time now. I can focus on what I need to in the lead up to the World Champs."

Reflecting on the moment, Hobbs noted "I've got an incredible support team around me and I'm super grateful for everything they've put in to help get me to where I am now. I'm particularly thankful for my family and my coach James Mortimer."

Hobbs went on to win the final this morning with a time of 11.13.

Sue Pavish was the last female New Zealand sprinter to compete at the Olympics in 1976 in Montreal.

The first was Norma Marsh (nee Wilson), who competed in the 100m at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.

Four year's later Thelma Kench competed at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics and Brenda Donald in Munich in 1972.