Power seeks big finale at NI championship

Ben Power knows what he wants this weekend.

The Hutt International first XV captain, who moonlights as a top class thrower during the summer, will farewell the athletics season at the North Island secondary schools championships in Auckland.

The 17-year-old has set PBs for both the shot put and the discus this month and is aiming to extend those this weekend.

“I’m really on form at the moment and hopefully I can pop out a 19m throw [in the shot put] and reach 55m with the discus. Those are my personal goals for the meeting.”

Power threw a career best of 18.75, with the 5kg shot put, at the Hutt zone meeting this month and added a PB of 53.35 for the discus, with both throws being meeting records.

He was hampered by a wrist injury at the College Sport Wellington regional championships a week ago but still threw well. He recorded 18.32 in the shot put, breaking a meeting record that had stood for a decade, and threw 52.68 in the discus.

He had been hoping to match the meeting record of 54.48 in the discus, as it had been set by his coach, Shaka Sola, in 1996.

Power was third in the under-20 shot put at the national track and field championships last month and won both the shot put and discus titles in the under-18 division at the 2014 meeting.

He also claimed bronze in the shot put at the Australian under-18 championships last year and finished second at the 2014 New Zealand secondary schools championships.

He should be a title contender in three events, in Auckland, as he will be the defending champion in the hammer throw, but has had to adjust to lighter implements.

“I was training with the 6kg [shot put] for three months before the senior nationals and have had to adjust to 5kg again. It has needed little technical adjustments and more emphasis on speed rather than strength.

“But I’ve been feeling good and till this month my PB was 17.41, so it has been a big increase.”

Power had been expecting to face tough competition from Hamilton thrower Ryan Ballantyne, who has twice broken 19m this month, but it appears that Ballantyne will contest the intermediate division in Auckland.

Rugby will become Power’s priority after the weekend and the 2014 Hurricanes under-18 forward hopes to be a contender for the New Zealand secondary schools team this year.

He will probably play at No 8 for HIBS but is likely to make more progress as a hooker at a representative level.

Wellington schools will be represented by about 85 athletes in Auckland, with the boys team having considerable depth in the sprints, headed by Nick Smith and Alex Haye, while the girls squad has some quality middle-distance performers.