In July 2018, Ollie Krijnen was playing football at Fraser Park when his temperamental back completely imploded.
“It just went. I’d been in pain for a couple of weeks but thought nothing of it. I was chasing a through ball and just fell over. I was in agony and had to be carried off the field,” Krijnen recalled.
For the next year Krijnen was unable to compete in competitive sprinting - denied the chance to push for the National Junior 100 metres title which he was odds-on to win.
“There was a grieving process. I really struggled with school and was in denial about it for months,” Krijnen admitted.
“The school was really supportive offering me a counsellor and my orthopaedic surgeon is my hero. Basically I had to rest the back and slowly re-strengthen it.”
The restless Krijnen would initially walk for nine minutes and sprint for one minute, increasing the running time as his fitness improved. Additionally core exercises were performed to make the back muscles more “compact.”
“Being out so long was humbling. It helped me mature and appreciate the good things I have. My back is always in the back of my mind, but I’ve learned how to manage things better,” Krijnen reflected.
In September, Krijnen at last resumed competition sprinting and two weeks before this past weekend’s New Zealand Secondary Schools Track and Field Nationals ran a PB of 11.30 in Palmerston North.
“I knew things were going nicely when I ran a PB in Palmerston North. I was worried about a couple of guys at Nationals who I’d beaten in close races, but Palmy gave me a lot of confidence,” Krijnen revealed.
The weather at Newtown Park gave nobody confidence. A swirling wind and heavy track was a great leveller.
“The rain was in our faces and the wind actually changed from a head wind to a cross wind before the start. It was hard to bounce off the track, you had to be careful at the start,” Krijnen said.
Krijnen managed a clean start and building speed in the middle helped him claim national honours in 11.34.
He powered to the finish line in an outside lane, edging Orewa College’s Ethen Lagatule into second and Paraparaumu College’s Ben Lambert into third.
Two other College Sport Regional athletes were in the Junior Boys 100m final, Lambert’s Paraparaumu College teammate Max Tofts who came fifth and Hutt International Boys Schools’ Tyrone Trego who brought home the eight-sprinter field.
“It means a lot to win after everything my coach, family and I have been through. I just want to thank everyone for their support,” Krijnen said.
Krijnen was Silverstream’s first national gold medallist since Fletcher Greaves won the junior 400m title in 2011.
Senior 100m champion Edward Osei-Nketia was seen congratulating Krijnen after his success.
“He’s a real nice guy who has lifted the profile of the sport,” Krijnen enthused.
Krijnen was captain of the Silverstream athletics team that won the Neville Shield against St Pat’s Town, claiming individual victories in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.
In the summer Krijnen will compete in the Capital and Cook Classics and he’s been selected in a New Zealand relay team that will partake in a series of summer fixtures.
Three national titles and a meet record.
All achieved in perhaps the most difficult weather conditions that could have been served up at the Newtown Park Stadium on Saturday and Sunday at the 47th NZSSA Track and Field Championships.
Lashings of wind and rain on both days didn’t faze Quinn Hartley, who won all three Junior Boys jump titles, which included a new meet record of 6.94m +0.4 in the long jump.
The tall, laid back James Hargest College athlete won the long jump title on Saturday morning and then followed it up in the afternoon with the triple jump win. On Sunday he returned to take the high jump.
Talking after his long jump win, he expressed his satisfaction in winning and breaking the record.
“It feels great to have done that, I really wanted to do that going into the competition and all the training is paying off,” he said.
Hartley’s previous personal best in the long jump was 6.43m, so he broke this by half a metre.
He actually broke the record twice. “The big jump was my fifth jump, but in my first jump I got out good and did 6.81m which was 2cm more than the record.”
The previous record was held by Kelvin Sefton of Pukekohe High School - set in 1974.
In winning the triple jump later that day, Hartley jumped 13.34m, which was 6cm short of the record. On Sunday the wind had died down somewhat, but lashings of moderate to heavy rain dominated the competition. He won the high jump with a clearance of 1.94m.
Second placed Harvey Meyer of Whanganui Collegiate also jumped a high jump PB with 1.83m.
Hartley went into the national championships having broken the Southland U16, U18 and U20 high jump records with a jump of 2.03m.
This backed up his performance at the Athletics New Zealand meet in March, winning the men's under-18 high jump with a leap of 1.91m.
Hartley went one better than last year at the NZSS meet in Dunedin, when he also won gold in the junior long and triple jumps while collecting a bronze in the high jump.
He has just finished year 11, so 2019 was his final year as a junior.
Hartley started athletics when he was a youngster “doing all the events.”
“But I have really grown to like jumping over the past four years or so.”
Hartley thanked all the people who have supported him, not least his coach Chris Knight and his parents who supported him in Wellington all weekend.
What is coming up over the summer? “I am doing the Cooks Classic [Whanganui], the Potts Classic [Hastings] and Jumps to Music in Hawera as well.” Plus the New Zealand Track and Field Championships in Christchurch in early March.
In the winter he also plays social football for a school to keep up his fitness.
A big future in athletics beckons.
NZSSA Track & Field Championships Junior Boys jumping results at a glance:
1.Quinn Hartley (James Hargest College) 6.94m PB record
2. Angus Lyver (Palmerston North Boys’ High School) 6.33m
3. Ari Koed Chang (Wellington College) 5.96m
1.Quinn Hartley (James Hargest College) 13.34m
2. Jacky Dai (Whanganui Collegiate) 12.65m
3. Ethan Gow (Lincoln High School) 12.51m 3.
1.Quinn Hartley (James Hargest College) 1.94m
2. Harvey Meyer (Whanganui Collegiate) 1.83m
3. Levi Ferguson (Middleton Grange School) 1.80m
A patient race and a determined kick up the home straight gave Whanganui Collegiate’s Liam Back the 2019 Senior Boys 1500m title at a wet and wild Newtown Park in Wellington on Sunday in the NZSSA Track and Field Championships.
For the second consecutive year, the Senior Boys winner of the blue ribbon 1500m was also the current NZSS Cross Country champion, after Bethlehem College’s Sam Tanner won the title in 2018.
Sunday’s win was anything but plain sailing for Back, who reeled in former school teammate and now Te Kura athlete Will Sinclair with about 30 metres to run and then held off fast-finishing King’s College runner and Saturday’s Senior Boys 3000m winner Zane Powell to win at the tape.
Back was elated to win, after coming second to King’s College’s James Harding in the final of the 800m.
“It was a tough race earlier in the day in the 800m, so to come through with a couple of good laps really set it up for a good sprint finish and I just managed to beat my training partner Will Sinclair in the final few metres," he said.
Back ran the perfect 1500m race, sitting in just behind the leaders for most of the race, who included at various stages Timaru Boys’ High School’s George Guerin, St Peter’s School’s James Corbett and Powell and Burnside High School’s Daniel Roswell.
“I had to run that race like that – I ended up burning up in the 800m, so I knew that I had to leave it right to the end to come through. So I was really sitting in there and being patient, which was my game plan.”
Luckily Back avoided high drama at the start of the bell lap, with then race leader James Corbett taking a fall on the inside of the track and crashing into a Sky Television cameraman (right).
Unfortunately for Corbett, his race was done, while the cameraman was back at his lens to record the final lap unfold.
Was Back aware of what happened? “No, I was still hanging back at that point, but I saw the cameraman fall over and it was all on. I got clipped and it got a bit ugly at that point – I went out three lanes and just tried to get clear.”
In difficult conditions, Back’s winning time was 4:04.92, second placed Powell’s was 4:04.98 and third placed Sinclair’s was 4:05.10. The meet record in this race is 3:46.92, set by St John’s Hastings runner Richard Potts in 1989.
Of note, Back’s Whanganui Collegiate teammate Sophie Williams lowered the oldest meeting record of the meet in Saturday’s Junior Girls quarter-finals. Kaitaia College’s Myra Matkovich had run 11.88s in 1973, with Williams setting a new mark 46 years later of 11.86s.
Back was philosophical about coming second in the 800m final, a couple of hours before the 1500m decider. “I got chewed up in the last 30 metres.”
“I will be honest, I was trying to get the double. The last person to do that was Nick Willis.”
This was Back’s second NZSSA track title, winning the Junior 1500m two years ago in Hastings, and winning the NZSS Cross Country title in June this year.
He won this year’s cross country race with similar tactics, sitting second throughout most of the race behind Scots College’s Will Anthony and then taking the race-winning lead with about 150m to go. “That was a tough battle, that was a hilly course down in Timaru.”
What happens now for Back? “From now until next August I am just working and training in New Zealand before I head over the United States to Providence University.”
He is hoping to run all through summer. “I hope to do the Classic meets and then on to Nationals in Christchurch.”
Back is coached by Whanganui Collegiate’s Alec McNab, but has assistance from different people as well.
Below: Liam Back wins the Senior Boys 1500m race.
Jaidyn Busch (Christchurch Girls’ High School) and Kaia Tupu-South (Westlake Girls’ High School) won the Senior Girls’ Shot Put and Discus events in blustery conditions at Wellington’s Newtown Park on Saturday afternoon on day two of the 47th NZSSA Track and Field Championships.
Both throwers battled competitive fields as well as the elements to win their competitions, both defending their titles that they won last year in Dunedin.
Jaidyn said she was motivated to give it her all, and threw a best of 16.51m with her penultimate throw to head the 22-strong field of Senior Girls Discus throwers.
“I just wanted to leave everything out there, it is my last year and I just to push it out there and hope for the best, she said.
“It is always a really strong competition with all the other girls, so it was just great to win again.”
Jaidyn wasn’t entered in any other events, so how was she going to celebrate?
“I will go and get some KFC with my family! Then I will stay around and support the rest of the my team and watch some other events.”
This was year 13s Jaidyn’s last act of her school career, which earlier this year saw her represent CGHS at No. 8 in the Top 4 rugby tournament in Palmerston North that saw them as beaten finalists. She enjoyed watching many of her teammates win the Condor 7s last weekend.
Next year she plans on training hard for future events and starting study in Christchurch in teaching and early childhood care.
Kaia, who is year 12 and is Westlake GHS head girl in 2020, was second in the Senior Girls Shot Put with a best of 16.34m, with St Andrew’s thrower Tapenisa Havea third with a best on the day of 16.03m.
Tairi College's Zharna Beattie threw a personal best in finishing fifth and broke the Otago Secondary School’s record by about a metre and a half.
Jaidyn won the SG Shot Put last year with a best hurl of 16.00m, so her winning effort was a full 51cm improvement on that. In turn it was exactly 51cm short of the meet record set by Lynfield College’s Maddison Wesche two years ago in Hastings.
A few hours later, Kaia summed up her Senior Girls Discus win a word as “stressful.”
“You never know when someone is going to do something big – all it takes is one throw.”
She needn’t have worried, winning by over six metres to second placed Zharna Beattie.
Kaia’s winning throw was 46.25m, achieved with her final throw of the competition, but she had bettered 45m and then 43m in earlier rounds.
Runner-up Zharna threw 40.69m and last year’s Junior champion St Cuthbert’s College’s Violette Perry was third with a best throw of the 1.0kg implement of 39.30m. There were 20 competitors in the field.
Like Jaidyn in the Shot Put, Kaia won this event last year with a best of 44.88m in 2018.
Kaia was pleased to win the SG Discus, but was hoping to do the double heading into the day. “I really wanted to win the Shot Put as well, but coming second in that was extra motivation to win the Discus.”
“I have always got a silver in Shot Put and a gold in Discus – so hopefully next year.
Kaia said the wind was a tough and definitely a factor in the Discus event.
“I am happy though for the day today, everyone was finding it hard in the wind this afternoon.”
Kaia’s PB is 47.90, so in favourable conditions in competitions coming up she is hopeful of surpassing that distance.
Meanwhile, the Junior Girls Shot Put was won by Natalia Rankin-Chitar from Saint Kentigern College, with Elizabeth Hewitt from Chilton St James second and Suzannah Kennelly from Auckland Dio third.
The same three competitors filled the gold, silver and bronze medals on the podium of the Junior Girls Discus, with Natalia doing the double and winning, and Suzannah second and Elizabeth third.
Elizabeth Hewitt had won the Junior Girls Hammer throw on day one of the meet on Friday, heading off Manurewa High School sisters Jasmine and Jamane into the second and third.
The Senior Girls Hammer Throw is scheduled for Sunday at 11.00am.
On Monday, Jaidyn, Kaia and other leading athletes from this weekend’s Track and Field Championships will be attending a Pathway to Podium camp.
The following has been written by Finlay Abbot - Dad, Sports Enthusiast & Bottle Washer at Sola Power Throwing Academy, Wellington.
In Wellington, early next month, around 25 tall, powerful young men will strive to take their place in New Zealand’s Secondary Schools sporting history in the Senior Boys Discus at the 47th NZSSA Track and Field Championships. The Discus is one of athletics’ oldest disciplines, with no less than 2,700 years of history.
I doubt very much that any of them will ponder the prospect of this particular competition beyond their own hopes and dreams. These young men will simply put their all into converting the months or even years of training and experience, into throwing a 1.5kg discus from here to eternity.
Discus training usually consists of three facets. Weight Training, normally Olympic Lifting, plyometrics and stretching and, of course, throwing….hundreds and hundreds of throws…it’s hard grinding work where improvements are measured in centimetres.
The pondering, prediction and discussion is the domain of old people, like me. One of the great pleasures of sport apart from participating surely is watching, admiring and talking about it?
A Brief History
The New Zealand Secondary Schools Athletics (NZSSA) Championships began in 1973 and quickly grew to become the nation’s most popular athletics event, both in terms of numbers of competitors and numbers of spectators. Over a thousand athletes now take part with several thousand watching. It is a fantastic event which is a great advertisement for one of the few truly global sports
Some analysis of the Senior Boys Discus competitions, almost all of which are listed on the excellent archives section of the NZSSA website, reveals some sporting greats and also reveals the growth of throwing in particular.
The very first Senior Boys Champion was R. Smith of Reporoa College who threw 46.98m
1978, only four throwers take part, with the winner throwing 46m
1981, Grant Chapman sets the record at 52.60m with second and third respectively at 52m and 51m respectively – early promise of things to come.
1987 – the first name which stood out, Courtney Ireland (who went on to compete at the 1990 and 1994 Commonwealth Games) wins in a record 54.66m, then again in 1988 with 57.5m, with Pat Hellier second in 53.4m and Simon Read third in 52.98m. A standout year.
1989 – Courtney wins his 3rd title in succession in his final year at school with a mighty throw of 56.44m, Chris Mene (watch that name) is second in 55.02m and Pat Hellier 3rd in 51.94m.
These performances need context. The IAAF provides World Rankings each year with U18 as the youngest year group. The minimum threshold is 48m with the 1.5kg Discus. Throwing over 55m normally ranks in the top 50 in the World and top eight in Oceania (NZ, Australia and the Pacific Islands).
1990 – Chris Mene throws 61.76m to set a new record which stands for an amazing 27 years until 3 December 2017. An outstanding performance. Ian Winchester is a distant 2nd, over 10m back. Ian Winchester is the current NZ Senior Men’s Discus record holder with 65.03m. Ian wins the following year with 55.52m.
1995 – Shaka Sola – 2004 Athens Olympian – wins his first major crown. Shaka is now one of NZ’s top Throw coaches and athletics personalities. Walk with Shaka around the track at an Athletics meet but only if you are not in a hurry, it takes over an hour as he stops to talk to another friend he hasn’t seen in months.
2000 – I spot Thomas Waldrom’s name – Hurricane loose forward and English Rugby International.
2003 – All Black Great Victor Vito’s name appears.
2006 – Marshall Hall at 18 throws 50.79m, in 2017 Marshall Hall went to the World Champs after throwing 64.55m in the USA
2008 and 2009, World Champion Shot Putter, Tom Walsh’s name appears with a best of third in 49.71m.
Which brings us to 2013. Throw Coaches in NZ become misty eyed when they talk about this competition – one for the ages they say.
If there was a competition which demonstrates the Grand Canyon like abyss between where the competition started and what it has become, it was the Senior Boys Discus in 2013.
Sam Ulufonua wins with 58.60m. Sam is a strapping 6 foot 6 inch giant and has gone on to great things in representative rugby.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona is second in 58.47m. Another giant of similar stature. Now playing in the NRL with the Melbourne Storm.
Benedict Chong Wong is third in 51.81m
Matthew Bloxham is fourth in 50.66m – Matthew went on to set a NZ age group Hammer Record which still stands.
As if this was not enough, another seven throwers all throw in excess of 40m.
Astounding ! Amazing ! Never to be repeated ? Well, there’s a funny thing…
2015 – depending on how you look at it, this competition also ranks highly due to the amazing depth in the field and the performances themselves.
Nathanial Sulupo is first in 56.74m – Nathanial recently represented Samoa at the Pacific Games and medalled in both Shot and Discus.
Scott Gregory is in 54.80m – Scott still holds the NZSSA Junior Boys Hammer record. Scott has recently represented NZ in Rugby Sevens and plays for Northland.
Ben Power is third in 53.62m. Ben has played representative rugby for the Wellington Lions and Hawke’s Bay.
The depth of this field continued with an unprecedented 10 other throwers throwing over 40m.
Back to the Present
A preview is dangerous work….so many factors can ruin the outcome. In Discus, the weather is crucial and of course, we are dealing with young men, some of the most accident prone creatures on the planet.
My prediction is that the 2019 edition will eclipse those two magnificent competitions in 2013 and 2015.
It is likely to be the strongest field ever assembled and with kind weather and good fortune, will deliver an unmatched world class spectacle to those lucky enough to assemble on the steep dusty banks of Newtown Park
Connor Bell – Westlake Boys’ High School – aged 18 and half
Current record holder with 65.63m set in Hastings in 2017. The wind denied him the chance to improve the record in 2018. Connor is bound to be targeting 70m or more. Connor’s PB is an incredible 69.67m – this is an Unofficial World Record for a 17 year old (http://age-records.125mb.com/ ).
Another prediction – watch anyone throw an implement of any sort over 60m and you will let out an involuntary gasp and find yourself uttering the name of the Son of God.
Connor’s other Discus achievements include
2017 Youth Commonwealth Gold Medal & unofficial World Record of 63.66m as a 15 year old.
2018 Youth Olympics Gold Medal.
IAAF U18 World Rankings – 1st in 2018 and 2nd in 2017
Current NZ U18 and U20 record holder.
Nik Kini – formerly of Whangarei Boys’ High School and now at Shirley Boys’ High in Christchurch – aged 17 and half
Nik is 2019 NZ U18 Discus Champion. Nik has a current U18 IAAF world ranking of 9th and is number one in Oceania & NZ
Nik’s recent PB is 60.60m from 26 Oct 2019, hence my safe prediction is that Nik will throw over 60m.
Nik is also one of the top Shot Putters and Hammer Throwers for his age in Oceania and will be targeting Gold in both.
Nik has also played age group representative rugby for Northland.
Zion Trigger-Faitele – Scots College – turns 18 in Jan 2020
Zion won Silver in U18 Discus at the 2019 Australian Champs with 56.80m, his PB
Zion currently holds almost all age group records in Wellington from age 14 onwards for Shot Put and Discus
Zion’s U18 IAAF world ranking is 32 and he is ranked fifth in Oceania and second in NZ
Zion will also compete in Shot Put where he will push Nik Kini for Gold. Zion is also a representative basketballer.
Liam Ngchok-Wulf – Manurewa High School – 16 and half years
Liam’s improvement in 2019 has been astonishing. Liam has a recent PB of 55.92m from 26 Oct 19 which sees him ranked 44th in the World, 7th in Oceania and 3rd in NZ.
Liam is 2019 North Island Secondary Schools Intermediate Discus Champion and won a Bronze in U16 Hammer at the 2018 NZSSA Champs.
Liam is currently ranked second in Shot Put and fourth in Hammer in NZ in U18 grade where he will push hard for a medal in both events.
The 11 amazing athletes below all have current PB’s over 40m with some incredible talent in other events and some are bound to surprise.
James Coates, St Bede’s College – 47.36m – Consistent improver over the last four years in both Shot and Discus. Second Senior Boys Discus 2019 South Island Schools Champs.
Laycian Leaso, St Peter’s College – 46.66m – Discus specialist. Third U18 2019 Auckland Champs and CSW Regionals in Intermediate grade.
Max Abbot, Wellington College – 46.61m – Silver medallist 2018 NZ Schools U16 Discus. Second 2019 North Island Champs Intermediate Discus. Rapidly improving in both Discus and Hammer this season. Related to the Author.
Joseph Ford, Nelson College – 46.43m – Discus specialist. 2019 Senior Boys South Island Schools Champion.
Louis Northcott, Kapiti College – 46.33m – Sub 50 second 400m runner and Decathlete. Third Senior Boys Discus at 2019 North Island Schools Champs. Bronze medallist at 2019 NZ U20 Decathlon Champs.
Jayden Williamson, Rosmini College – 44.90m – Gold Medallist in 2018 U16 NZ Schools Discus, Hammer and High Jump. Current NZ Schools U16 High Jump record holder. Represented NZ at 2019 Oceania Champs winning Silver in U18 High Jump. Ranked 45th in the World in U18 High Jump.
Tamatoa Tepai, Auckland Grammar School – 44.03m – Discus specialist. Has featured in a number of Schools and Club events in the last two years.
Liam Johnson, Timaru Boys – 43.39m – Third at 2019 Senior Boys Discus, South Island Schools Champs. Outstanding Hammer Thrower currently ranked second in NZ in U20.
Joshua Bull, Catholic Cathedral College – 43m – Decathlete. Bronze medal at 2019 U18 NZ Decathlon Champs. Gold Medal at 2019 NZ Track and Field Champs in U18 Pole Vault.
Jordyn Hetaraka, Whangarei Boys High – 42.99m – 2019 Bronze medal at NZ Track and Field Champs in U18 Discus. Outstanding Hammer Thrower winning Silver at 2019 NZ Track and Field Champs in both U18 and U20 grades.
Tama Bartlett, Wairarapa College – 40.88m – 2019 Wairarapa Senior Boys Champion. Also capable performer at Javelin and Shot Put
By my calculations we could see someone throw 50m, which would achieve a good IAAF U18 World and Oceania ranking and “only” get 6th in this competition – shades of the historic Men’s Shot Put at the 2019 World Champs in Doha.
The Stage is set – come and see the show, 2pm Sunday 8 December, Newtown Park, Wellington.
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