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Olympic flame kindled for Rio

The torch relay to Rio has begun!

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Last Thursday (NZ time) the torch was lit at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece – the Olympic Games’ spiritual homeland – to begin its journey to Brazil.

Greek gymnastics world champion Lefteris Petrounias began the relay, handing the flame on to Brazilian double Olympic volleyball champion Giovane Gavio.

The torch will visit the United Nations and IOC headquarters in Switzerland, before crossing the Atlantic and passing through the hands of 12,000 runners in 300 towns and cities in Brazil.

 

Terrific Ten named in track and field team

Ten outstanding athletes have been named in what is touted as one of the most talented athletics squads to represent New Zealand at an Olympic Games.

The team for Rio includes a strong dash of experience – with double gold medallist shot putter Valerie Adams, 1500m silver medallist Nick Willis and javelin thrower Stuart Farquhar all preparing for their fourth Olympic campaigns.

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It will be the second Olympic Games for 50km race walker Quentin Rew. But six athletes will make their Olympic debuts – shot put duo Jacko Gill and world indoor champion Tom Walsh; teenage pole vault sensation Eliza McCartney; 800m runner Angie Petty; 1500m runner Nikki Hamblin and 10,000m specialist Zane Robertson.

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More track and field athletes could be added to the team in July, with more than 10 athletes having realistic chances of reaching nomination standards.

 

Superb results for New Zealand at gymnastics test event

Trampolinist Dylan Schmidt has won silver at the Olympic test event in Rio, and secured New Zealand its first-ever spot in Olympic trampolining.

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The 19-year-old Auckland student – who won gold at the 2014 Youth Olympics - finished just behind Belarusian winner Hancharou Uladzislau in the individual trampoline competition, to grab one of the five qualification places remaining for the Olympic Games in August.

Gymnast Courtney McGregor, competed in the women’s individual gymnastics competition and finished fourth in the women’s vault final at the test event, with a 14.149 average.

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The athletes’ are now aiming to maintain this recent form as they work towards cementing a spot for themselves in New Zealand's Olympic Team. Selections will be determined next month.

 

All eyes on Gaze in mountain bike World Cup

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sam Gaze has sprinted to victory in the under-23 cross country title at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Cairns.

The Cambridge rider held off the French pair of Romain Seigle and Titouan Carod in a sprint finish after the trio broke away and rode together on the second of five laps. North Canterbury’s Ben Oliver achieved his first top-10 finish in a World Cup race.

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World under-23 champion, Kiwi Anton Cooper started in his first elite men’s World Cup event, but was battling ill health and finished one lap down on the field.

National champion Kate Fluker was the best of the Kiwi women, finishing 26th – two places ahead of Wellington’s Samara Sheppard, making her return to World Cup racing.

 

Rebecca Spence scores career tri high in Cape Town

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PHOTO: Janos Schmidt

Rebecca Spence has notched up a career-high finish of 13th in the latest event on the ITU World Triathlon Series in Cape Town.

The Aucklander’s solid result backed up the 15th placing she claimed at the New Plymouth World Cup event, and 29th at the Gold Coast World Series so far in 2016.

Fellow Kiwi women Simone Ackermann and Nicky Samuels competed strongly in the swim and cycle legs of the Cape Town event, but fell off the pace in the run finishing 30th and 31st respectively. Tony Dodds finished 33rd in the men's event.

Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Dylan Schmidt Courtney McGregor Samuel Gaze Anton Cooper Valerie Adams Stuart Farquhar Eliza McCartney Nick Willis Angie Petty Tom Walsh Jacko Gill Nikki Hamblin Quentin Rew Zane Robertson Kate Fluker Nicky Samuels Tony Dodds
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