Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Athletics

  • 01/01/2022

One of the base sports of any Commonwealth or Olympic festival, athletics has featured at every Games since they began in 1930.

The track and field programme comprises 59 medal events - the most of any sport at Birmingham - including six parasport events over 100m, 1500m, marathon and discus.

While some events lag behind top world class, the presence of Caribbean nations means sprint finals are incredibly strong, while African nations tend to dominate distance races.

Historically, athletics has been New Zealand's most successful Commonwealth Games sport, with 136 medals - ranking sixth among all nations - including 37 gold.

Shot and discus thrower Val Young (formerly Sloper) is our most successful Commonwealth gold medalist with five.

New Zealand has traditionally enjoyed success over the mile/1500m, spearheaded by legends like Jack Lovelock, Peter Snell and Nick Willis, but in recent years, shot put has probably made up ground, with Dame Val Adams and Tom Walsh adding to Young's legacy. 

Tom Walsh in action at the Tokyo Olympics
Tom Walsh in action at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo credit: Photosport

Defending champions Walsh and hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe loom as our strongest gold-medal prospect at Birmingham, although New Zealand will field a full contingent of three in the women's hammer, with Lauren Bruce and Nicole Bradley also selected.

NZ Team

Geordie Beamish (5000m), Connor Bell (discus), Jacko Gill (shot put), Hamish Kerr (high jump), Quentin Rew (10,000m track walk), Eric Speakman* (5000m), Sam Tanner (1500m), Tom Walsh (shot put)

Imogen Ayris (pole vault), Portia Bing (400m hurdles), Nicole Bradley (hammer), Lauren Bruce (hammer), Zoe Hobbs (100m), Olivia McTaggart (pole vault), Keeley O'Hagan (high jump), Tori Peeters (javelin), Julia Ratcliffe (hammer), Maddi Wesche (shot put) 

NZ Medals

Gold (37) - Stan Lay (javelin 1930), Bill Savidan (10,000m 1930), Jack Lovelock (mile 1934), Pat Boot (880 yards 1938), Cecil Matthews (3 miles & 6 miles 1938), Harold Nelson (6 miles 1950), Yvette Williams (long jump 1950), Don Jowett (220 yards 1954), Yvette Williams (discus, long jump & shot put 1954), Murray Halberg (3 miles 1958), Val Sloper (shot put 1958), Murray Halberg 3 miles (1962), Peter Snell (880 yards & mile 1962), Val Young (shot put & discus 1962), Les Mills (discus 1966), Peter Welsh (3000m steeplechase 1966), Roy Williams (decathlon 1966), Val Young (discus & shot put 1966), Dick Tayler (10,000m 1974), Robin Tait (discus 1974), Anne Audain (3000m 1982), Mike O'Rourke (javelin 1982), Tania Dixon (high jump 1990), Beatrice Faumuina (discus 1998), Beatrice Faumuina (discus 2002), Val Vili (shot put 2006), Nick Willis (1500m 2006), Val Adams (shot put 2010), Val Adams (shot put 2014), Tom Walsh (shot put 2018), Julia Ratcliffe (hammer 2018)

Silver (48) - Stan Lay (javelin 1938), June Schoch (80m hurdles 1950), John Holland (440 yards hurdles 1950), Harold Nelson (3 miles 1950), Women's 440 yards relay (1950), Bevin Hough (long jump 1950), Yvette Williams (javelin 1950), Don Jowett (440 yards 1954), Mary Donaghy (high jump 1958), Les Mills (discus 1958), Jennifer Thompson (discus 1958), Marise Chamberlain (880 yards 1962), John Davies (mile 1962), Dave Norris (long jump 1962), Doreen Porter (100 yards 1962), Les Mills (shot put 1966), Les Mills (discus 1970), Barbara Poulsen (shot put 1970), Dick Quax (1500m 1970), John Walker (1500m 1974), Val Young (shot put 1974), Jack Foster (marathon 1974), Sue Haden (800m 1974), Mike O'Rourke (javelin 1978), Heather Thomson (3000m 1978), John Walker (1500m 1982), Anne Audain (10,000m 1986), Lorraine Moller (marathon 1986), Anne Judkins (10k road walk 1990), Simon Poelman (decathlon 1990), Beatrice Faumuina (discus 1994), Kirsten Hellier (javelin 1994), Courtney Ireland (shot put 1994), Craig Barrett (50km road walk 2002), Philip Jensen (hammer 2002), Val Vili (shot put 2002), Tony Sargisson (50km road walk 2006), Jess Hamill (shot put 2010), Nikki Hamblin (1500m 2010), Brent Newdick (decathlon 2010), Tom Walsh (shot put 2014), Julia Ratcliffe (hammer 2014), Alana Barber (20km road walk 2018), Val Adams (shot put 2018), Eliza McCartney (pole vault 2018)

Bronze (51) - Men's 4x440 yards relay (1938), Pat Boot (mile 1938), Betty Forbes (high jump 1938), Jim Leckie (hammer 1938), Rona Tong (80m hurdles 1938), Janet Shackleton (80m hurdles 1950), Don Jowett (220 yards 1950), Dave Batten (440 yards 1950), Maurice Marshall (mile 1950), Noel Taylor (6 miles 1950), Jack Clarke (marathon 1950), Men's 4x110 yards relay (1950), Men's 4x400 yards relay (1950), Noelene Swinton (high jump 1950), Cleone Rivett-Carnac (javelin 1950), Dave Dephoff (long jump 1950), Ruth Dowman (long jump 1950), Dave Norris (triple jump 1954), Merv Richards (pole vault 1954), Neville Scott (3 miles 1954), Val Sloper (discus 1958), Women's 4x110 yards relay (1962), Avis McIntosh (80m hurdles 1962), Norman Read (20 mile road walk 1966), Mike Ryan (marathon 1966), Ian Studd (mile 1966), Robin Tait (discus 1966), Les Mills (shot put 1970), Bevan Smith (200m 1974), John Walker (800m 1974), Lorraine Moller (1500m & 3000m 1982), Stephen Walsh (long jump 1982), Gavin Lovegrove (javelin 1986), Simon Poelman (decathlon 1986), Angus Cooper (hammer 1990), Gavin Lovegrove (javelin 1990), Barbara Moore (10,000m 1990), Peter O'Donoghue (1500m 1990), Tracy Phillips (high jump 1990), Simon Poelman (pole vault 1990), Gavin Lovegrove (javelin 1994), Ben Lucas (wheelchair marathon 1994), Scott Nelson (30km road walk 1994), Joanne Henry (heptathlon 1998), Angela McKee (high jump 2006), Andrea Miller (100m hurdles 2010), Nick Willis (1500m 2010), Nick Willis (1500m 2014)