Brad Thorn, the powerhouse of the All Black and Crusaders forward packs, will go back to his schoolboy days in athletics when he turns out in the Charter Trucks Invitation Shot Put event at the International Track Meet at QEII Stadium on March the 18th. Thorn will compete against a star-studded field from a range of international sporting backgrounds, including Olympic and Commonwealth Games representatives, Paralympian and Secondary Schools athletes, and other sporting heroes such as Crusaders No 8 Thomas Waldrom, and NZ women’s cricket representative Kate Pulford. The event is an innovative one, and was a crowd pleaser last year, with the athletes competing with different weight shots depending on age grade and gender, ranging between 3kg for the Paralympic categories to 7.26kg for senior men. Senior Women and Junior Men compete with 4kg and 6kg shots respectively.
Thorn is renowned for his raw power and enormous work rate on the rugby field and will not be one to be underestimated, even in a technical discipline such as the shot put. His strongest competition should come from NZ M17 record holder Tom Walsh. Walsh has thrown over 20m with an age group shot (6kg) and will be competing in this event using a senior weight shot (7.26kg), with which he still has a very respectable personal best of 17.57m. Last year’s winner, Jerram Huston, and Olympic heptathlete representative Rebecca Wardell, (who will be competing in up to four events as part of her build-up to the Commonwealth Games in October) will also be strong contenders, as will Commonwealth Games decathlete Brent Newdick, who like Wardell is competing in several events on the programme. Waldrom will be no pushover either – the Crusaders scrum anchor was a schoolboy champion at shot put and discus, so if he has retained any of the technique from those days could be a big threat.
In addition to the shot put, the meet will feature over two and a half hours of action and entertainment, including a clash between current and former world champions Dani Samuels and Beatrice Faumuina in the discus, and the best 800m field in New Zealand since 1990, featuring Olympic 1500m silver medallist Nick Willis and world class athletes from three other countries.
Tickets are on sale at QEII Stadium now, and at the gate on the night. Adults are $12, children 12 & under $6, and under-5's are free. Premium allocated Gold Seating is $20. The international section of the programme starts at 6.30pm - go to www.internationaltrackmeet.co.nz for more details.