Commonwealth Games: Three Māori selected in NZ athletics team

By Oriwa Atkins

Oriwa Atkins is a Te Rito journalism cadet

Eighteen of Aotearoa’s high-performing athletics athletes to represent New Zealand at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham have been announced.

Among them are three Māori athletes from Ngāruahine, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāpuhi.

“I’m feeling very happy right now and this is a really cool moment to be a part of,” Zoe Hobbs (Ngāti Ruahine) said.

“I’m really excited and I can’t wait to compete,” Nicole Bradley (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Whātua) said." It has been a long time. I started throwing hammer when I was 13 and I’m 30 now. That’s a really long time."

Sam Tanner (Ngāpuhi) who will compete in the 1500 metres was not there today and is based overseas.

This will be his second time competing but, for Bradley and Hobbs, it will be a first.

“To be named to go to my first Commonwealth Games is a special moment,” Hobbs said.

Nervousness and adrenaline

“I missed out by just a little bit at the last Commonwealth Games, so this is surreal,“ Bradley said.

Bradley will be competing in the woman’s hammer throw and Hobbs in the women’s 100-metre sprint.

“In this country, I’m ranked No. 1 at the moment. In the world, I would have to refer back to the world rankings, but I believe I’m in the top 30,” Hobbs said.

Bradley said she was No. 3 in New Zealand and  33rd in the world. "It is the highest I have ever ranked. So I’m stoked,” she said.

Nerves can play an important part in the competition.

“I get nervous before key competitions. When they are there, I know I’m super excited and I try and use that adrenaline to help carry me through the race,” said Hobbs.

“I just really want to enjoy it. I want to go there and enjoy throwing my hammer - it’s my happy place. That is my goal, to just go there and have fun,” Bradley said.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games will start on July 28.