Julia Ratcliffe, one of three New Zealanders who contested the women’s hammer throw qualifying event, looked in ominously good form at Alexander Stadium.

Ratcliffe, the defending Games champion and a silver medallist in the event in 2014, needed only two throws to advance. Her 68.73m sent a message to the rest of the field that she is a serious contender again.

The 29-year-old, who finished ninth at the Tokyo Olympics, was the second qualifier, behind Canadian Camryn Rogers. The Canadian grabbed everyone’s attention with a Games record 74.68m.

Nicole Bradley also got through in the hammer. The 30-year-old Bradley threw 59.75m, 61.69m and 61.77m to advance in eighth spot.

There was a shock when the other New Zealander, Lauren Bruce, who has thrown as far as 73.74m, failed to register a legitimate throw and was eliminated.

Sam Tanner qualified for the 1500m final when he ran 3min 48.65 for fifth place in his heat.

If the aim of qualifying is to make the final with as little energy as possible expended, Tanner succeeded – his time was slowest of the 12 qualifiers.

He needed a top five placing in his heat and duly delivered, with a clear gap back to sixth-placed Australian Matthew Ramsden.

Keeley O’Hagan progressed to the women’s high jump final with a leap of 1.81m. The Christchurch-based O’Hagan won the 2022 national title with a personal best 1.88m, a height which would certainly make her competitive in the final.

Aucklander Connor Bell was below his best but secured eighth place in the men’s discus final.

Bell, who has a personal best throw of 64.29m, managed 60.23m in the final. The discus event was won by Australian Matthew Denny with a whopping throw of 67.26m.

Bell’s sequence was 59.44m, 58.88m, 60.23m, foul, foul, 58.84m.

Meanwhile Portia Bing qualified for the women’s 400m hurdles final with a 56.32s effort that earned her third place in her heat. The fastest qualifier was Jamaican Rushell Clayton with 54.93s.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
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