By ROBYN BRISTOW
North Canterbury athlete, Jess Hendren has won Gold in the under 18 high jump at the Oceania Athletics Championships, in Mackay, Australia.
The North Canterbury Athletics Club member from Glentui, won the event with a jump of 1.74m.
Jess’s most recent success leading up to the games was winning the under 18 women’s high jump at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships 2022, with a jump of 1.72m.
The Oceania championships are featuring 750 plus athletes from 18 nations, with Jess being part of the 104 New Zealand-strong athletic team comprising a mix of youth and experience.
Jess’s top performance was achieved despite interruptions to the athletics calendar.
Due to Covid and the cancellation of the Canterbury and South Island Secondary athletic sports, Jess had not competed since early March. Being able to carry her form over and gain top honours at the Oceania championships augurs well for the future of the young athlete.
She was selected to compete in the New Zealand Secondary School team in February. Usually the team travels to Australia, but Covid intervened so the tour was conducted internally in New Zealand, with athletes competing in the senior section at various classic meets.
Jess gained two fourths at the Cooks Classic at Whanganui, and the Capital Classic in Wellington. She was third at the New Zealand invitation meet in Christchurch.