by Chris Tobin
It might be winter but South Canterbury Amateur Athletic Club athletes and officials have been busy.
Lauren Bruce has been selected in the New Zealand Universities team to compete at the World Universities Games in Naples, Italy, from July 3 to 14 in the hammer and discus.
On her way to Italy she competed at the IAAF Oceania competition in Townsville last Friday and the Oceania area athletic championships at Townsville which started on June 25 and finishes on June 28
Also competing at Townsville is Christina Ryan who is defending her Oceania heptathlon title. Adrienne Bruce and Grant Lord are officiating at this meeting after doing so at the earlier Townsville meet.
More than 700 athletes, 100 team officials and 120 technical officials from 22 Oceania federations are attending the championships. There will be 98 athletes representing New Zealand, accompanied by a management team of 14 led by Athletics New Zealand high performance director Scott Goodman.
The championships are a significant event for many athletes still aiming to qualify for the 2019 Doha IAAF World Championships in Dubai.
With a change in the qualifying system for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the Oceania area’s top athletes will be seeking to gain important ranking points.
The event will be live-streamed.
Craig Motley is also travelling to Italy for the World University Games as distance coach.
Earlier in the year he was a team leader with the New Zealand team which competed at the world cross-country championships in Denmark.
Meanwhile, South Canterbury club life member and 2018 Supreme Halberg winner and New Zealand Sportsman of the Year Tom Walsh started well in his latest northern hemisphere competition with a victory at Chorzow, Poland, with a heave of 22.18m in the shot put.
He followed this performance with another winning throw of 22.27m at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic, last Friday, which was a meeting record and a season best for him.
His next competition will be the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League Meet at Stanford, California, on Sunday which will be a showdown with Olympic champion Ryan Crouser, ranked by the IAAF as No1 in the world this year ahead of Walsh.
The two have had a fierce rivalry for years. Crouser leads their clashes 12-9 as both men draw closer to breaking the world record of 23.12m set by American Randy Barnes nearly 30 years ago.
Crouser has been unbeaten this year and recorded a throw of 22.74m, which was the best the world had seen since Barnes’ effort in 1990.
In their most recent clash in April this year, Crouser edged out Walsh by 7cm at the Doha Diamond league meeting with 22.13m.
Whatever the outcome on Sunday, their rivalry will continue at the world championships, again at Doha, in September where Walsh will be defending his title.