Flanagan sets NZ record at Porritt Classic

07/02/2015 by Steve Knowles



Over the past couple of season’s Rosa Flanagan has become accustomed to re-writing the record books and the Canterbury University AC athlete once again created her own slice of history by hacking a further 2.28 from national under-19 and under-20 women’s steeplechase record with another majestic performance at the Porritt Classic.

Running solo in hot but windy conditions, the seventh place finisher at the 2014 World Junior Championships hit a metronomic pace from the outset.

Flanagan stuttered leading into the final barrier but responded well on the flat to flash across the line in 9:48.39 – to better her previous best time set two weeks ago in Timaru.

“I’m used to running on my own and really stoked to take two seconds off my PB,” says Rosa. “I was really surprised to take six seconds from my PB at Timaru two weeks, so it was nice to prove it wasn’t a fluke.”

Flanagan, who has put on 2kg in weight to gain more strength during the winter, is targeting the World University Games in July but also has half-an-eye on the World Championships in Beijing – the B standard of which is 9:44.00.

Commonwealth Games fourth-placer Siositina Hakeai defeated her training partner and rival Te Rina Keenan with a season’s best of 58.33m in the women’s discus.

The Auckland pair have been involved in a series of ding-dong battles this season but it was Hakeai who prevailed courtesy of her sixth round throw.

Hakeai, who set her lifetime best of 59.65m at this meeting 12 months ago, was satisfied with the win but feels there is more to come.

“I’ve had the best week’s training I‘ve had for a long-time and I was hoping to throw a bit further one today,” she says. “I’m hoping to finally throw 60m but I’m maybe being a bit impatient. I want to hurry up and it but maybe it will when I least expect it.”

Cameron French has made a storming start to the season with PB’s in the 100m and 200m and he claimed a solid victory in his specialist event – the 400m hurdles – in 52.37.

The Hamilton-based athlete held a marginal lead from Tama Toki approaching the final hurdle only for Toki to take a tumble at the final barrier.

French, the reigning New Zealand 400m hurdles champion, who tweaked his hamstring when running a 100m PB of 10.51 in Auckland three weeks ago, said: “It was my first 400m hurdles race of the year and I just wanted to get through it. I didn’t do much training for a week-and-a-half (because of the injury), so I just wanted to complete a race because we don’t have long before nationals. I just tried to keep as relaxed as I could and 52.3 was okay under the circumstances.”

Nick Southgate set a personal best of 5.30m to elevate himself to number two on the all-time New Zealand rankings in Wellington two weeks earlier and he followed that up with an impressive winning clearance of 5.25m to take the men’s pole vault. 

Admitting on the day ”it was not quite clicking” the Aucklander missed out on his three attempts at 5.35m but did enough to secure the win from Thomas North 4.70m.

By Steve Landells

Athletics NZ