New Zealand sprint making strides with golden weekend in Australia
Sprinting isn’t a sport New Zealand is generally known for – but do recent results on the track change that?
Last weekend at the Australian Nationals, New Zealanders cleaned up in the sprint events, with all that success driven by one man and led by a world championship hopeful.
Zoe Hobbs has been setting a blistering pace of late, having set a new Oceania record in the 60m at the World Indoor Championships before aiming for Sydney.
Hobbs told 1News that she still likes to move.
“I actually like showing up every day,” Hobbs said.
“I’m on day three of a hiatus now and I’m going a bit crazy and want to be back.”
But Hobbs was told by his handlers to rest after winning the Australian 100m title last weekend.
Her teammates also cleaned up in the longer races with Georgia Hulls winning the 200m gold medal and Isabel Neal on the 400m podium.
To top it off, Hobbs and Hulls were joined by Rosie Elliot and Livvy Wilson in the 4x100m relay where they set a New Zealand record of 44.06 – which also saw them win that race.
“To be honest, I felt quick but we hadn’t prepared for this kind of event,” said Hobbs.
The “brilliant quartet” as they have since been dubbed are coached by the same man – former Commonwealth Games sprinter James Mortimer.
“We have a great group of girls [who feed off each other]“, said Mortimer.
“But it’s also about putting the right training on the right body structure and making sure they enjoy it because it’s a very repetitive sport.”
Hobbs qualified for the World Championships in July, but not yet for the Commonwealth Games.
So what’s keeping Hobbs out? The Commonwealth Games standard of 11.01 seconds – a time that would have won gold four years ago.
Mortimer saw both sides of the argument as to whether the new benchmark was right.
“I think it’s on that Olympic standard now because of the Caribbean sprinters,” he said.
“The Australians are good and the South Africans are very good too.”
Still, Hobbs should hit the mark for Birmingham and become a medal chance.
“I would love to see sprinting put on the map in New Zealand and more young people joining the sport,” she said.