“My body was tight. My hamstring tore slightly and I had to take five weeks off,” James Guthrie-Croft laments of his experience at the National Secondary Schools Athletics Championships in December.
In the semi-finals of the 100m Guthrie-Croft ran a quicker time than eventual champion Nick Smith, but was forced to withdraw from the decider.
“It would have been an interesting race. Nick ran a great final so who knows if I would have won, but it was disappointing to miss out.” Guthrie-Croft admits.
The misfortune of Nationals has spurred Guthrie-Croft on to greater things. He set personal best times in the 100m (10.83s) and 200m (21.60s) and claimed the Porritt classic and National Under-18 club titles.
Last week Guthrie-Croft was selected in the New Zealand team for the Junior Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas in July. The games will feature up to 1300 athletes aged 14-18 representing 70 countries and vying for 94 medals in 11 different sports. At the last games in Samoa in 2015, New Zealand won 15 medals, five of each colour.
“I don’t know what to expect, but I know it will be hot in the Bahamas. My goal is to make the finals and take things from there.” Guthrie-Croft says.
Guthrie-Croft will compete in the 100m, 200m and 4x400m mixed relay. The St. Peter’s College student burst on to the since at the Nationals in 2015 when he won the junior boys 100m, 200m and long jump titles at the New Zealand Secondary School Championships in Timaru.
Guthrie-Croft was diagnosed with dyspraxia – the condition which makes it hard to plan and co-ordinate physical movement – aged five. Despite the obstacles associated with the disability Guthrie-Croft trains six times a week, three times on the track and three times in the gym, and has a stubborn mindset for overcoming the impediment.
“I tell myself I don’t have it. I don’t think about it otherwise it becomes an excuse.” Guthrie-Croft concludes.
P.S. Guthrie-Croft running his best time of 10.83s at the Australian U18 Championships. Guthrie-Croft was second in the race.
An exciting team of 11 athletes has been selected for the Commonwealth Youth Games athletics in Nassau, Bahamas in July.
The team will feature a number of New Zealand's talented youngsters, including distance runners Hannah O'Connor and Katrina Robinson and throwers Connor Bell and Nick Palmer.
Hurdler / jumper Kayla Goodwin is the only athlete in the team with prior international experience, representing New Zealand last year at the Polynesian Under 18 Championships in Tahiti.
Distance athletes Nicholas Moulai and Isaiah Priddey are both named in the team after some great battles this season.
Throwers Tatiana Kaumoana and Mellata Tatola have also been named in their first NZ team, along with high jumper Imogen Skelton.
The team features three athletes from each of Auckland and Waikato and one athlete from each of Canterbury, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, Wellington and one based in Australia.
Athletes aged 16 or 17 on 31 December 2017 were eligible for selection in the multi-sport team.
Tim Driesen (Team Leader) and Mike Ritchie (Coach) have been appointed to support the team.
Members of other sports will be named later this week.
Athletics team members:
Connor Bell Auckland Discus
Kayla Goodwin Hamilton Long Jump, 100m H
James Guthrie-Croft Auckland 100m, 200m
Tatiana Kaumoana Te Aroha Discus
Nicholas Moulai Christchurch 1500m, 3000m
Hannah O'Connor Taranaki 1500m, 3000m
Nick Palmer Hawke's Bay Shot
Isaiah Priddey Hamilton 1500m, 3000m
Katrina Robinson Australia based 1500m, 3000m
Imogen Skelton Wellington High Jump , 800m
Mellata Tatola Auckland Shot, Discus
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