• Hammer thrower Lauren Bruce sets sights on competing

Hammer thrower Lauren Bruce sets sights on competing

Olympic hopeful Lauren Bruce had big international plans for 2020, including making the Tokyo Olympics.

The 23 year old hammer thrower has instead been cooped up in New Zealand and dividing her time between Christchurch and what she calls her ‘second home’ of Hastings, where with other top athletes, training camps have been hosted at Mitre 10 Sports Park.

“I got off the plane last week and it really did feel like I was returning home. We spent four weeks here earlier in the year, so it’s becoming a very familiar place,” she said, while enjoying 13th Stag café in between training sessions.

In a normal year, athletes like Lauren and top Olympic gold medal chances such as Tom Walsh and Valarie Adams would spend the NZ winter basking in the northern hemisphere summer in Europe, the US and Asia.

But not in 2020 with COVID19 continuing its stranglehold on many countries and shut down of borders.

"I was planning to be away from the beginning of May with the aim of bumping up my qualification ranking for Tokyo. The aim was to move from 40 to inside the top 32.

“It’s always great to get overseas and compete with a wider group of competitors.

In New Zealand training partners and competitors are a bit thin on the ground. Last weekend Lauren competed in the hammer throw event with two other “guys”, throwing in the low 66 metre distance. She has a PB of 68.14 which she achieved in February this year.

“I was a little bit all over the place and I threw 66 metres something which is well out of what I have been doing , but it’s been such a long time since I’ve been competing. It’s really been a winter of training only.

When the current camp finishes at the Mitre 10 Park, Lauren is looking forward to a bit of a rest before the New Zealand circuit of athlete meets start in December.

Mitre 10 Sports Park will host the second of the Hastings Athletic Club Spring Series this weekend – again featuring Lauren, along with the likes of Walsh, and the Adams sisters – Val and Lisa, who bettered her own shot put world record last weekend.

Lisa Adams, a F37 athlete, will look to better her latest world record of 15.77.

Lauren will again compete in a small field, which she candidly says will all be over in about 20 minutes.

“That’s the difference really. If I was competing in Europe there would be a larger field and you would have a qualifying round and the finals. 

Lauren’s not complaining though. She’s enjoying her stay in Hawke’s Bay, spending some time out and about at the likes of Ocean Beach as well as the amazing facilities at the Sports Park and the EIT of Sport and Health, which includes the Sport Performance facility.

“The facilities are really good, there’s unlimited access to the track and you’ve got everything in one place.