CURRANZ ambassador Julia Ratcliffe has set a stunning Oceania record and hit the Olympic automatic qualification mark in a demonstration of hammer excellence at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships.
In a phenomenal display, Ratcliffe added more than a metre on to her lifetime best to power the hammer out to 73.40m and comfortably beyond the Tokyo automatic standard of 72.50m.
The Commonwealth Games champion went even better in round four, adding a further 15cm on to that mark with a 73.55m effort – 8cm in excess of the Oceania record set last September.
Ratcliffe was understandably ecstatic with her performance and said: “It feels so good to get the Olympic qualification mark off the plate and I can finally focus on building up for Tokyo.
“It was just awesome. It was like the culmination of 16 years of training with Dave (coach and father) in the crowd. In the last week or so training has been up and down, so to keep it altogether was the big challenge. It was more than I could have hoped."