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Wairarapa athletes excel in Central League

Liam Lamb winning the national under-20 3000m in January. PHOTO/FILE


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Promising Wairarapa athlete Liam Lamb is to take on the big guns of New Zealand middle distance running after setting a personal best at the Central League interclub meeting held at Masterton’s Colin Pugh Sports Bowl on Saturday.

Liam Lamb set a new PB for the 3000m. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Lamb was one of three Wairarapa athletes to taste success at the meeting, which featured 280 athletes from clubs from the lower North Island.

The 19-year-old dominated the open 3000m race, setting a PB of eight minutes, 23.30 seconds, and beating Wellington’s Will Anthony by more than one second.

Lamb’s time bettered his previous best, set in winning the national Under-20 title in Whanganui in January, by 1.49 seconds, and was good enough to rank him 52nd in the world for 2020.

Wairarapa Track and Field coach Mark Harris said Lamb’s PB was significant.

“It jumped Liam 14 places on the ranking list, and that just shows how congested that group of runners is,” he said.

“He did have a pacemaker for the first few laps, but he had to run most of the race by himself, and it is an impressive result.”

The victory is a continuation of Lamb’s rich vein of form, which also had him claim the national Under-20 road championship in Auckland in early November.

The former Wairarapa College student is now targeting the 5000m at the ‘Daikin Night of 5s’ in Auckland on December 18.

“All the big hitters are in that race, and they’ll be going for the Olympic standard,” Lamb said.

“I would love to run 14min 10sec, that’s the goal, and it’s under the World University Games standard of 14.15.

“I’ve only run 5000m twice before, and my best is like 15.30, but I ran 8.23 for 3k solo pretty much, so that’s what I’m comparing it to.”

After that Lamb intends to complete the domestic season, possibly chasing a fast 1500m time and defending his Under-20 3000m title in January.

Also, on Saturday, 15-year-old Jack Hunter, running for Athletics Wairarapa, underlined his potential with victory in the 1500m in 4.01.28, more than 1.7 seconds ahead of runner-up Karsen Vesty from Hastings.

Clubmate Sovaia Sabutu also shone in winning the women’s 300m hurdles. The 14-year-old stopped the clock at 50.36sec, in her first attempt over the distance.

Joseph Quinn finished a close second in the men’s hammer. His best throw of 51.28m, was 0.27m behind winner Kaleb Sola from Lower Hutt.

Mia Bartlett also picked up a second placing in the women’s javelin. The 15-year-old’s best throw of 29.57m was almost 5m behind Wanganui’s Sophie Andrew’s winning throw.

Harris said the meeting was one of the biggest hosted by Wairarapa Track and Field.

“We normally get about 230 athletes, so to get 280 was exceptional. We even had one athlete travel from Gisborne.”

“We had very big fields in the throwing events, including 30 in the discus, and that takes a long time to get through.”

The meeting was the third and final meeting in this year’s Central League.

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