2 Feb 2018

Top guns headline Gold Coast athletics squad

2:15 pm on 2 February 2018

Veteran athletes Dame Valerie Adams and Nick Willis head the 15 strong New Zealand athletics team named this morning for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.

The two time Olympic gold medallist, is aiming to re-write her own piece of history, targeting her fourth consecutive Commonwealth Games shot put gold medal and her fifth medal overall.

She has only recently resumed training after the birth of her first child and her selection is conditional on her competing at the upcoming national champs.

New Zealand's Valerie Adams won silver in the women's shot at the Rio Olymics.

New Zealand's Valerie Adams won silver in the women's shot at the Rio Olymics. Photo: Photosport

Willis, like Dame Valerie, has medalled at all his previous Commonwealth Games appearances.

At 34, he shows no signs of slowing down and in 2016 won bronze at the Rio Olympics after setting a New Zealand record for 1500m the previous year.

He also finished third at the 2016 Portland World Indoor Championships 1500m, and made the final of the 2017 World Championships off a very short build-up.

Nick Willis competing at the 2017 world champs in London.

Nick Willis competing at the 2017 world champs in London. Photo: Photosport

World shot put champion Tom Walsh will contest his second Commonwealth effort, having won silver four years ago in Glasgow.

Walsh has shown incredible consistency in his competitions, only once falling below second place in his 14 outings in 2017.

His world title has armed him with the confidence to upgrade his Commonwealth silver from four years ago.

Tom Walsh shot put world champion.

Tom Walsh shot put world champion. Photo: Photosport

Eliza McCartney who at 21, is already an Olympic medallist, is another of the stars in the team.

In a 2017 interrupted by injury, she managed to increase her New Zealand and Oceania record to 4.82m, ranking her fourth in the world for the year.

She still managed to place ninth in the 2017 London World Championships while limited by Achilles tendon issues.

Eliza McCartney 2017.

Eliza McCartney. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Athletes representing New Zealand for the first time at a major international event include 400m hurdler Cameron French, pole vaulter Olivia McTaggart, 800m runner Brad Mathas, and pole vaulter Nick Southgate.

Ten of the team are heading for their first Commonwealth Games.

The athletics team members named join Para athlete Holly Robinson (javelin) who was selected for the Gold Coast team at the end of last year.

Marshall Hall and Julia Ratcliffe are selected subject to meeting qualifying standards.

Gold Coast 2018 Athletics Team

Dame Valerie Adams (conditional) shot put, Alana Barber 20km race walk, Camille Buscomb 10,000m, Cameron French 400m hurdles, Marshall Hall (conditional) discus, Ben Langton Burnell javelin, Eliza McCartney pole vault, Olivia McTaggart pole vault, Brad Mathas 800m, Angie Petty 800m, Julia Ratcliffe (conditional) hammer, Quentin Rew 20km race walk, Nick Southgate pole vault, Tom Walsh shot put, Nick Willis 1500m.

Camille Buscomb and Nick Willis also have permission to start in the 5,000m.