Rio 2016: New Zealand Track and Field Athletes

Valerie Adams celebrates after her attempt during the women's shot put final at the IAAF World Championships. Photo:
Valerie Adams celebrates after her attempt during the women's shot put final at the IAAF World Championships. Photo:

Newsbeat journalist Braeden Leggett gives a rundown on the track and field athletes, and what key names to look out for in the Rio Olympics 2016.

Listen to some of his audio commentary below:

Track and Field:

Track – Men
Hamish Carson (1500m)
Julian Matthews (1500m)
Quentin Rew (20km walk/50km walk)
Zane Robertson (10000m)
Nick Willis (1500m)

Track – Women
Alana Barber (20km walk)
Nikki Hamblin (1500m/5000m)
Lucy Oliver (5000m)
Angie Petty (800m)

Field – Men
Stuart Farquhar (Javelin)
Jacko Gill (Shot put)
Tomas Walsh (Shot put)

Field – Women
Valerie Adams (Shot put)
Eliza McCartney (Pole vault)


Tony Dodds (Men’s)
Ryan Sissons (Men’s)

Andrea Hewitt (Women’s)
Nicky Samuels (Women’s)

Stuart Farquhar competing in Javelin last year in Beijing. Photo:

Our Track and Field team has vastly experienced athletes that could help New Zealand in gaining some medals.

In the men track team, keep an eye out for 33-year-old Nick Willis who already has an Olympic medal after claiming silver in the 1500m metre race at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Willis was the London 2012 Olympic flag bearer for New Zealand.

I believe it will be extremely hard for Willis to gain a medal this year even though he still holds the current New Zealand record. However, Zane Robertson is the man to watch for any hope of claiming a medal. The 26-year-old claimed a bronze medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 for the 5000-metre race. He has the best chance to prove himself to the world.

2010 Commonwealth Games silver medalist javelin thrower Stuart Farquhar will be entering his fourth Olympics. Nikki Hamblin was a very dominant runner in Delhi also, wrapping up two silver medals in the 800m and 1500m race. She will be the New Zealand female track athlete to watch out for.

There is no doubt that Valerie Adams is the most successful New Zealand field athlete heading to the Olympics. The two-time Olympic gold medalist will likely get another gold medal to add to her collection and potentially could be one of the top Kiwi highlights of the competition.

In contrast, rookie Eliza McCartney will compete in her first ever Olympics. Only 19-years-of-age and she claimed 5th spot in this year’s world indoor championship in America. She potentially has the aim to claim a medal and believes she can make the final.

Andrea Hewitt is a very successful runner and is highly rated in New Zealand. She finished fourth in the women’s individual triathlon at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Her recent form shows an indication of a potential medal.

Eliza McCartney is ready for her first Olympics in Rio. Photo:

Who to look out for?

  • Valerie Adams: I predict she will claim a gold medal. She owns her game.
  • Eliza McCartney: Will be the most surprising athlete due to all the media attention she has received in New Zealand. She has the x-factor and can definitely go all the way, but with it being her first Olympics, some could say the nerves may get the better of her. She is young and has many years ahead of her.
  • Zane Robertson: His determination and experience could help Robertson get a medal. His recent results have been good and could out-class his fellow competitors. However, the 10,000m event is tough and can be difficult to dominate.
  • Andrea Hewitt: Has a big opportunity to get in the top 10, medal will be very hard, but it’s possible!
  • Jacko Gill: Only 21-years-old and is improving with every event he competes. Doubt he will claim a medal, but it is always an honour to watch a New Zealand athlete compete in the Olympics.

Check out Braeden’s take on the New Zealand Olympic cycling team here.

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