Oceania Area Permit Preview- Night of 5's
Fast times over 5000m are on the cards as New Zealand’s elite runners gather for the prestigious Daikin Night of 5’s meeting at the AUT Millennium Stadium on Friday.
Hayden Wilde indicated after winning the 5000m at the Dick Quax Memorial Meeting that he was aiming for a time under 13:20, which would put him in contention for the Tokyo Olympics.
Camille Buscomb likewise is seeking a time around the 15:10 mark. The 30-year-old national 10km road champion clocked her best 5000m of 14:58.59 for 12th place at last year’s world championships in Doha.
Wilde has a best time of 13:47.37 recorded at the Sir Graeme Douglas meeting in Auckland in February.
The men’s A race has drawn a top field, including national indoor 5000m record holder Matt Baxter, Oli Chignell fresh from his fast 10,000m of 28:48.03 earlier this month in Wellington, last year’s winner at the Night of 5’s Julian Oakley, Eric Speakman national 1500m champion in 2017 and national marathon and half marathon champion in 2019 Oska Baynes.
Sam Tanner will pace the A grade race in which Wilde and Baxter have requested that they are through the 3000m between 7:55 and 8:00. Ben Moynihan will pace the next group through to 3000m in 8:05 to 8:10. Malcolm Hicks holds the race record of 13:49.64 set in 2015.
Buscomb, four times women’s winner and race record holder at 15:28.78, has opted for the men’s B grade race in order to be paced through to her target time. Leading runners in the B race are Ieuan van der Peet, national 3000m steeplechase champion for the last two seasons who has a best of 14:39.98, Harry Ewing best of 14:41.57 and Andres Hernandez best of 14:58.22.
Lydia O’Donnell, who ran 15:42.16 in Melbourne in February, has entered the women’s 5000m along with Rebekah Greene, the Browne twins Bella and Chloe, last year’s winner Maiya Christini, Anneke Grogan and Jean Kozyniak. O’Donnell won in 2014 and 2017.
Zoe Hobbs, Natasha Eady, Georgia Hulls, Nadia Evans and Symone Tafunai square off in the women’s 100m. The leading male sprinters come together for the first time this season, with a close race assured between Joseph Millar, Eddie Osei-Nketia, James Guthrie Croft, Hamish Gill, Jordan Bolland and Tommy Te Puni. Cameron French and Anna Percy will contest the 400m hurdles and James Harding the 800m. Joanna Poland national under-18 champion, Stella Pearless 2018 junior champion and Sophie Atkinson 2019 junior champion are down for the women’s 800m.
Tom Walsh should highlight the field events competing in the shot put against Jacko Gill and Ryan Ballantyne. The 2017 world champion, twice world indoor champion and 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist was firing in September in Hastings with throws over 21 metres at three successive meetings. Maddison-Lee Wesche and Kaia Tupu-South will take part in the women’s shot while the discus throw will feature Connor Bell, Alexander Parkinson and Te Rina Keenan.
There will be considerable interest in the women’s hammer throw with Julia Ratcliffe the Commonwealth champion up against Lauren Bruce, the first time since Bruce broke Ratcliffe’s New Zealand record with a throw of 73.47m in Hastings in September. Hamish Kerr and Jayden Williamson are in the high jump and Keeley O’Hagan and Josephine Reeves in the women’s high jump.
Olivia McTaggart and Imogen Ayris who have both cleared 4.50m this season in the pole vault will be seeking a greater height. Ettiene Du Preez and Ruben Vogel are down for the men’s pole vault.
World Para-Athlete representative Danielle Aitchison T36 will compete over 100m.
The meeting is shaping up into being one of the best presentations of track and field in the country for some time.
Field events start at 3.00pm and the track pre-programme at 6.00pm and the main programme at 7.30pm. The Blincoe Cup men’s 5000m starts at 9.45pm.
The action will be streamed live from 4.30pm on the Sky Sport Next YouTube channel.
Athletics New Zealand Correspondent
Photo: Michael Dawson