NZ heptathlete's shot best boosts Olympic hopes

Posted: February 6, 2012 at 7:39 am


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TONY SMITH

A personal best in the shot put has helped bolster Canterbury athletics star Rebecca Wardell's hopes of qualifying for the London Olympic Games heptathlon.

Wardell withdrew from track events at the International Track Meet in Christchurch on Saturday after "pulling up a bit sore" from a run last Monday. The Beijing Olympian is on the comeback trail after foot surgery so did not want to take any risks.

But Wardell was able to focus on the shot put and was rewarded with a 15.08m throw on her first attempt to better her former personal best of 14.74m.

Wardell, who has been training in Dunedin since QEII Stadium was destroyed in the February 22 earthquake, wasn't entirely surprised at her performance.

"I threw a couple out to 14.70 on Tuesday [at training] and my best was 14.74, so I knew I was in personal best shape. I reckon I've got another 50 to 60cm in there."

Wardell said she plans to complete her first heptathlon in Melbourne within the next month and she is confident there is plenty of time to qualify for London.

Meanwhile, one of Canterbury's most versatile athletes – champion hurdler and New Zealand Black Sticks hockey development squad member Fiona Morrison – did the women's 100m and 200m double.

Canterbury's Andrew Davidson had his moment of glory, finishing third in the men's two-mile handicap. He had a good head-start on top placegetters Will Leer and Nick Willis, but captured the hearts of the crowd with a strong finishing spurt to challenge them both and finish third.

Davidson told the crowd later he thought he would make the most of the opportunity to race the stars because "I will never get a chance to sprint with Nick" again. The Brian Taylor Memorial women's 3000m race – named in honour of the respected coach and official who was killed in last February's earthquake – was won by Canterbury University's Kellie Palmer, from NZ cross-country representative Hannah Newbould.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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NZ heptathlete's shot best boosts Olympic hopes

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February 6th, 2012 at 7:39 am