Top Kiwi athletes light up The Trusts Arena
West Aucklanders were treated to an impressive display by the country’s top athletes at the recent Sir Graeme Douglas International.
Held at The Trusts Arena, the prestigious athletics event was the last chance for Aucklanders to see top Kiwi athletes in their own backyard before the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
Although international athletes were unable to take part due to Covid, there was no shortage of local talent to enjoy. Olympic and world champion Dame Valerie Adams and fellow world champion and Olympic medallist Tom Walsh headed up a world-class field.
Now in its seventh year, the Sir Graeme Douglas International is a highlight of the New Zealand track and field season. The event is named after Sir Graeme Douglas. A proud West Aucklander and a great supporter of athletics, Sir Graeme was the founder of Henderson-based Douglas Pharmaceuticals.
The competition on the track and field lived up to expectations with some sizzling performances. A highlight was Dame Valerie Adam’s outstanding display which put her back at the top of her game. She unleashed a world-class 19.65m throw – her best performance for five years.
‘I’m absolutely ecstatic, I’m so happy’, declared Adams.
The 35-year old mother of two continued, ‘It was a post-two babies personal best. To be able to do that and back it up with consistent throwing is massive. Hopefully, this will inspire mums that they can perform in sport after having kids.’
Tom Walsh was also a winner on the night. He pulled out a season-best effort of 21.60m to beat his long-time rival, Jacko Gill, in a closely fought encounter.
Another highlight of the evening was the much anticipated 100m final, which saw Tiaan Whelpton dramatically pull up while leading with a leg injury. This left the field open for Eddie Osei-Nketia to grab a convincing victory.
Aucklander Zoe Hobbs put in a rock-solid performance and confirmed her status as New Zealand’s fastest woman with victory in the 100m final.
Hamish Gill, who only made his debut as a 400m runner two weeks ago, put in a personal-best winning performance. And endurance athlete Camille Buscomb was impressive with a top-quality display to take out the 1500m final.
Several of the country’s best para-athletes were also in action at the Sir Graeme Douglas International.
Standout performances included Anna Steven, who set the track alight with her blistering sprint to win the 200m. Equally impressive was Mitch Joynt, who came out on top in the men’s para 200m final. And para-athlete Ben Tuimaseve pulled out a personal best of 12.91m to win the shot put.
Full results, live streaming footage and other information from the 2021 Sir Graeme Douglas International are available on their website.
All up, it was a fantastic evening with some scintillating action.
The event is one of only two world-class athletics meets to occur anywhere in the world this year. The timing was perfect given that it came sandwiched between Auckland’s recent Level 3 lockdowns. And it gave our talented Olympic hopefuls some much-needed competition ahead of this year’s Olympic Games.
We wish all our athletes the very best as they complete their preparations for Tokyo.