• Bay sprinter upbeat despite training setbacks

Bay sprinter upbeat despite training setbacks

Hawke's Bay's Auckland-based sprinter Georgia Hulls had it tough during the Covid-19 Level Three restrictions period up in the big smoke.

Hulls, 21, was unable to go to the gym or train with other athletes. Her only contact with coaches was via email.

However the Hastings Athletics Club member (pictured above at the January Potts Classic at her home track) isn't prepared to allow these setbacks or the postponement and revised format for the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships in Hastings hinder her build up. The championships were originally scheduled for last Friday, Saturday and Sunday but will now be staged on March 26 and 27.

Despite having one less day to compete Hulls will still enter the same number of events and her goals will remain the same. On the Friday the Havelock North High School old girl will compete in the 100 metre heats and final, everything going to plan. 

On the Saturday Hulls will have a 200-metre heat and final and represent the host club in the 4 x 400m relay. She is aiming for a top two finish in the 100m and victory in the 200m. She isn't prepared to make a prediction for the relay team until the quartet is finalised closer to the nationals.

"I was preparing quite well before Lockdown. I don't think things will be better or worse in the wake of the postponement," Hulls explained.

In addition to her training commitments, seven training sessions over five days, Hulls, is studying accounting part-time at North Shore's Massey campus and she works 15 hours a week in logistics at Mainfreight.

Hulls PB for 100m is 11.64s and for 200m its 23.53s. She laughed when she was reminded about a conversation she had with yours truly two years ago when she suggested it wouldn't be long before she focused on the 400m.

"Every year I say that will happen next year. But I'm still getting faster in the 100 and 200s so I will stick with those shorter ones for a bit longer," Hulls said.

Next year she hopes to represent New Zealand in the 4 x 100m relay team at the Commonwealth Games and world championships.

Hulls (pictured fourth from left below, photo John Faulkner)  finished second to national champion Zoe Hobbs in the 100m at the Potts Classic and has beaten Hobbs over 200m this summer.



"I'm really happy with the season so far. Although I haven't raced in good conditions yet. Hopefully, conditions will be good in Hastings ... everyone loves Hastings," Hulls said.

She has yet to decide whether she will use an Auckland meeting this weekend or another Auckland one on March 20 as her final rehearsal for the nationals.

Meanwhile, Athletics New Zealand was pleased last week to announce a modified version of the nationals featuring U-20 and senior athletes but unfortunately no U-18 entrants.

Many logistical challenges needed to be taken into consideration, including limited accommodation in the region, flight availability and the need to limit numbers at the venue due to ongoing uncertainty around the Covid-19 alert levels and associated gathering restrictions.

The most viable option was to decrease the competition to two days and restrict entry to U-20 and seniors only.

“After lengthy discussions and taking all options into account, we are pleased to be able to host a national championship in these challenging times, albeit in a modified format,” Athletics NZ CEO Peter Pfitzinger said.

“This event is always the highlight of our calendar and assumes even more importance this year with our elite athletes building towards the Olympics and Paralympics or pushing for national selection for other competitions,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to bringing some world-class athletics to the Hawke’s Bay region and watching our top athletes in action.”

While pleased to be able to stage a modified version of the championships, Pfitzinger said it is disappointing U-18 athletes will not be able to take part.

Athletics NZ intends to instead hold a New Zealand U-18 Championships, most likely towards the end of the year, to allow athletes in that age-group to compete nationally and is currently looking at options for such an event.

“We are aware not being able to compete in Hawke’s Bay will be very disappointing for these athletes, their families and supporters as they have been training hard for many weeks and had made plans to attend. But, given the logistical challenges and uncertainties around the alert levels, we, unfortunately, had no choice but to limit the numbers,” he said.