Amidst pouring rain, the New Zealand women’s sevens have claimed bronze in the Sao Paulo Sevens this morning, convincingly beating the United States 28-0 in their play-off match.
Defending champions in the world series, the New Zealanders were knocked out of finals contention in Brazil following a 19-10 semi-final loss to Canada – highlighted by a spectacular solo try by Canadian star Jen Kish.
After two rounds of the 2016 world series, New Zealand is second overall – 12 points shy of Australia, who carried on from their tournament victory in Dubai by swamping Canada 29-0 in today’s final.
Brothers David and Josh Nyika, Chad Milnes and London Olympian Alexis Pritchard were the Kiwi victors in the trans-Tasman boxing championships in Auckland on Friday night.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist David Nyika battled with a fractured hand to win his men’s 91kg bout against Australian Jason Whateley, while brother Josh – who’s had a hamstring injury – defeated Istafano Kori in the 69kg division.
Pritchard was the only New Zealand woman to win her fight, revelling in the home crowd support to beat her 60kg opponent Cassie Axon. The championships signalled the start of the New Zealanders’ preparation for the first Olympic qualifications in China in May.
Nick Willis has broken the New Zealand indoor mile record finishing second in the prestigious Wanamaker Mile in New York.
The 1500m Olympic silver medallist clocked up his third fastest mile time in 3:51.06, and was less than half a second behind rival American Matt Cetrowitz. It was a repeat of last year’s result, but this time both runners broke the event record. Willis eclipsed his own NZ indoor record of 3:51.61 – set in Boston last year, breaking John Walker’s record which had stood for 33 years.
Willis opened his indoor season earlier in the week by winning the mile at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston in a time of 3:53.27.
World golf No. 1 Lydia Ko has continued what she calls a “good start” to the season by finishing second in the Australian Women’s Open.
A week after winning the New Zealand Open, Ko finished three strokes behind Japan’s Haru Nomura on Adelaide’s Grange course yesterday, denying the Kiwi golfer a successful defence of the Australian title she won last year.
Earlier in the week, Ko was crowned Sportswoman of the Year at the Halberg Awards, honouring New Zealand sporting achievements in 2015.
New Zealand diver Liam Stone has finished 27th of 56 divers in the 3m springboard event at the FINA Diving World Cup in Rio. Stone, who finished sixth in the springboard synchro at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, is one of 250 divers from 50 national competing for places at the Rio Olympics in August.
The World Cup doubles as the Olympic venue test event. New Zealand woman diver Lizzie Cui is set to compete in the springboard at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre tomorrow.
Emma Twigg and Mahe Drysdale have claimed the national premier single scull titles on Lake Karapiro at the weekend, pushed along by fellow national rowers and emerging young talent. Twigg beat defending champion Lucy Spoors and dual world double sculls champion Zoe Stevenson in the women’s final, while Olympic champion Drysdale had to fend off challengers Robbie Manson and John Storey to win his ninth national title.
The upset result of the national championships came in the men’s pair, with Tom Murray and Jamie Hunter overthrowing Olympic gold medallist Hamish Bond and his Southern RPC partner James Lassche in a furious fight to the finish.
PHOTO: Hamish Burson Photography
Seventy rowers will line-up in selection trials this weekend, towards the Rio Olympic Games and the “last chance” qualifying regatta in Lucerne next month. With nine boats already qualifying for Rio, Rowing NZ is aiming to send boats for all 14 Olympic rowing classes.
Olympic champion shot putter Valerie Adams hits the road to Rio in earnest this week, making her return to competition at the Auckland Track Challenge at Waitakere on Thursday night. Adams has been out of action for seven months, in the long recovery from nerve surgery to the elbow of her throwing arm.
Adams has also been named as one of four athletes to represent New Zealand at next month’s world indoor championships in the United States – alongside top male shot putters Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill, and US-based middle distance star Nick Willis. Walsh won a bronze medal at the event in 2014.
Luuka Jones has qualified New Zealand for a spot in the women’s canoe slalom at the Rio Olympic Games, after a solid performance at the Oceania championships in Penrith.
Jones, who’s already competed at two Olympic Games, was sixth overall in the heats of the women’s single kayak and finished eighth in the star-studded final to nail the Olympic spot. New Zealand’s strongest male contender, Mike Dawson, finished 17th in the men’s single kayak semifinals.
Michael Venus has continued his winning ways alongside Croatian doubles partner Mate Pavic in taking out the Men’s doubles final at the Marseille Open over the weekend.
The win signalled a third title for the duo in the 2016 ATP series, having taken the same title at Montpellier and here at home in Auckland.
Venus and Pavic toppled Israel’s Jonathan Erlich and Colin Fleming from Great Britain in the final in Marsielle 6-2, 6-3. "We're really excited. It was a great week here and to be able to play that well in the final today," said Venus.
Thinking of travelling to Rio to experience all the excitement of the Olympic Games? New Zealand Olympic Travel now have a limited number of packages On Sale! Follow New Zealand Team through some of their key sports at Rio 2016, staying beachfront at the Sheraton Barra.
Click on the link to view the packages available - http://www.nzolympictravel.co.nz/rio-2016-packages.htmlRio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Dame Valerie Adams James Hunter Tom Murray Emma Twigg Mahe Drysdale Mike Dawson Nicholas Willis Liam Stone Michael Venus Lydia Ko David Nyika Alexis Pritchard Zoe Stevenson Robbie Manson John Storey James Lassche Hamish Bond Rugby - Sevens Boxing Rowing Athletics Canoe/Kayak - Slalom Golf Diving Tennis