Zoe Hobbs lit up the opening day of the Oceania Championships in Mackay on Tuesday, shooting to a stunning Oceania 100m record of 11.09 seconds for women to strike gold.
Three times during the domestic season, the Auckland-based Taranaki sprinter broke the women’s 100m record in New Zealand and on a wet track and in light rain in Queensland she improved a further 0.06 from then on.
In conditions far from ideal for sprinting, the performance was hugely encouraging for the 24-year-old ahead of the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon in July, followed by the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Hobbs, who was 0.25 seconds ahead of silver medalist Bree Masters of Australia, said: “I was so shocked to ride an opener (first race since the Australian Championships in early April) and in the 11.0 is more than I expected.
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“I got into these championships and I thought if I had run under 11.2 I would have been super excited. I can’t believe that just happened.
“Since riding the Aussie champions I have been through a reload phase in the gym and this was not a priority – the priority is the World Championships and Commonwealth Games so to be running so fast so early is very exciting.”
Hobbs, who cut 0.02sec off Australia’s Melissa Breen’s Oceania record, will now be in Germany for a month and plans to hold three games in Europe before heading to the US for the world championships.
Australia defeated New Zealand in a highly competitive senior 100m final as Eddie Osei-Nketia took silver in 10.23 seconds and fastest qualifier Tiaan Whelpton fourth in 10.36.
In a tight race, Jake Doran (10.19) secured the New Zealand champion’s Oceania title with Australia’s Joshua Azzopardi (10.27) taking bronze.
World Championship tied athlete Sam Tanner maintained his excellent recent form by cruising to victory in the senior 1500 meters.
Ten days earlier, he set a personal best in the 1500m and a world championship standard time of 3:34.37 to win the prestigious Prefontaine Classic and confirm that form on Tuesday.
He grabbed the race for the last 600m and opened the throttle to dodge the opponent and take the gold in 3:42.56 to finish two places higher than he did as a teenager at the 2019 edition of the Oceania Championships in townsville.
“It was nice to come here and win. It was warmer than New Zealand but a bit wet with a bit of wind but a good run.
“I had a bit more intense training week after Pre last week, it was just a good hard effort, the goal was just to run a good last lap
“It’s cool to win the title. I came third here in 2019, these guys went hard today and gave me a run for my money.”
Hamish Kerr retained his Oceania high jump title with a best of 2.24m. The 25-year-old world indoor bronze medalist made a successful eviction on his second attempt, but given the demanding conditions, he was pleased with his efforts to secure a gold medal from Australia’s Yual Reath (2.21m).
“I’m pretty excited to get the win. I was a little frustrated with some of my jumps, some of them were below par but I got some good jumps in me and hopefully that will show more in the coming weeks.
“I was over the moon after World Indoors and won my first global medal, but it’s been up and down ever since. I got Covid and I had a month off from training which pushed everything back. It’s nice to know, I’ve been through that and I know what I need to do to really perform.
“Coming back to Australia was about the competition, but also about connecting with my physio, my coach and girlfriend and all the other special people in my life.”
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