The head-to-head duel in the senior women’s 800m final between defending champion Katherine Camp and her fellow Cantabrian Angie Petty was always like to provide fireworks and it did not disappoint as Camp edged a thrilling tussle by just 0.05 on day two of the New Zealand Track & Field Championships.
Twelve months ago Camp snapped Petty’s seven-year hold on this title with a comprehensive victory and once again the long-limbed athlete claimed top spot – albeit in a almighty scrap for the line.
Petty raced into an early lead with Camp sheltering from the wind in the leader’s streamline. Hitting 400m in 61 seconds, Camp edged ever closer before mounting her attack with 120m remaining. Taking a slim advantage down the home straight and straining every sinew the 2019 champion clung on to victory by a tiny margin in 2:05.84 to claim back-to-back titles.
“I was not surprised Angie took up the pace because I knew the best chance to get good (world ranking) points was to run fast, and it made the race very tough,” admits Camp. “The last 100m sucked! I couldn’t feel my legs down the home straight, it was the toughest race.
“To win was quite special. I put a lot of pressure on myself to retain the title, so to be able to do so with Angie running so well, does a lot for my confidence.” fellow cantab Ariana Candy took bronze in 2:10.05.
Both Camp and Petty return to resume their exciting rivalry in today’s senior women’s 1500m final.
World and Paralympic 400m bronze medallist William Stedman enjoyed a great day’s work by setting a pair of world leading marks in the T36 400m and long jump and also bettering his national record in the latter event.
The 20-year-old Cantabrian, added 12cm to his personal best with a 5.68m long jump, before blasting around the 400m oval in a handy 55.22.
“The long jump was the best (long jump) competition of my life,” adds Stedman, who placed fifth in the T36 long jump at last year’s World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai. “I managed to time the wind right, so it was legal and I’m really stoked with that. My long jumping is very consistent and I’ve been able to put together some good mental processes.
“I didn’t quite nail the 400m but I’m pleased with my first 200m, which has been very downfall. I was hoping for around 25.4 (for the first 200m) which I managed to run.”
A late surge from Luke Mercieca earned him gold and an upgrade on the silver medal he snared twelve months ago in the senior men’s 400m.
Shay Veitch of Otago powered out of the blocks and by halfway the 19-year-old had built up a clear five metre advantage on the field.
The New Zealand Secondary Schools champion still looked firmly in control entering the home straight before Mercieca picked him off in the closing stages to breast the finish line in a PB of 48.04 with Veitch a further 0.21 back. Liam Webb (Wellington) in 48.56 bagged bronze.
Teenager Andrew Allan set a PB of 14.66m to take the senior men’s triple jump title, while 2018 champion Keeley O’Hagan banked silver with a leap of 1.79m in the U20 women’s high jump.