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Lamb gets Tayler’s nod

Christchurch Commonwealth Games legend Dick Tayler will be the guest speaker at a function next week to raise money to help Wairarapa middle-distance runner Liam Lamb achieve his dream of becoming a world-class athlete.

The function was initially planned for November last year but had to be deferred and will now take place on Thursday, May 11, at the Horseshoe Tavern.

Although Tayler will be the main drawcard, organiser and Lamb’s coach, Mark Harris has also gathered an impressive array of sports memorabilia to auction on the night.

Items include a rugby jersey signed by ex-All Blacks and current All Blacks, a fully framed signed jersey from the 2020 Chiefs, a signed Hurricanes jersey from the win over the Brumbies last weekend, a signed singlet from former NZ Breakers R J Hampton, who now plays for the Detroit Pistons, as well as others.

Lamb’s goals are to compete in Europe this season and gain invaluable experience for a concerted push at major milestones in 2024, including running a sub-four-minute mile, winning the national 1500m title, and ultimately qualifying for the Olympics.

Harris believes Lamb is not far from achieving his goals, and a solid European campaign will give him much-needed international experience.

“Everything’s indicating that he can probably do it. We do a lot of sports science testing to see whether there are incremental improvements, and that’s all scaled against world-class athletes because the testing is very similar,” Harris said.

“We kind of know where that’s all sitting, but if he doesn’t get out and race, he doesn’t have those tactics and doesn’t have the race nous, and he can never get a time, so that’s why we’re trying to raise funds to get him overseas. Otherwise, it’s just not going to happen.”

Tayler knows all about competing at the highest level, having competed in two Commonwealth Games, the 1972 Munich Olympics and the 1973 world cross country championships, before his running career was sadly brought to an abrupt end in 1975 by severe arthritis.

However, it was on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games in 1974 that the proud Cantabrian raced into Kiwi sports folklore, winning an emotional 10,000m in 27 minutes 46.40 seconds, less than 16 seconds outside the world record.

Tickets for the event are $20 and are available by email from [email protected].

Harris said the aim is to raise $10,000 towards Lamb’s campaign.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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