Canterbury-based hammer thrower, Lauren Bruce, has gone and broken the New Zealand and Oceania record at her first competition since the Covid-19 lockdown.
The 23-year-old threw 73.47 metres in Hawke's Bay over the weekend, beating her personal best by five metres and the previous record, held by fellow Kiwi Julia Rattcliffe, by over a metre.
Had there not have been a freeze on Olympic qualifications, Bruce would’ve earnt herself a spot in the New Zealand team.
Rattcliffe has won Commonwealth gold and silver, and could soon be competing against Bruce for Olympic gold.
Coach Dale Stevenson says it a great thing that New Zealand has multiple athletes competing in the same sport.
"We’ve seen what can happen with Tom (Walsh) and Jack (O’leary)... and now if that’s an opportunity for those girls to go up against each other regularly and push each other it only means good things," he said.
It’s a remarkable feat for Bruce, who admits had it not have been for an injury in 2012, she may never have picked up a hammer.
“Gymnastics was my sport when I was younger," she said.
"It wasn’t until I got a stress fracture in my back I continued with athletics and started throwing."
She and her coach believes the skills she developed as a gymnist and the strength she has built since has been an asset.
“Obviously there’s the physical characteristics – balance, coordination and she’s also ambidextrous which helps,” said Stevenson.
Bruce will attempt Olympic qualification in early December.