Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
Athletics — Gisborne Lady Sprinter Sent to Olympic Games
Gisborne Lady Sprinter Sent to Olympic Games
Athletic sports were first held in Poverty Bay at Makaraka on Boxing Day, 1872. A squad of Armed Constabulary was present on duty, “but its services were not required.” The A.C. initiated a counter-attraction at Ormond in 1874. Gisborne's first athletic club was formed in 1879. Its secretary (C. E. Major) was the district's fastest sprinter, with Archie Gray, of Makaraka, his most formidable rival. For many years the business people were called upon to provide the prizes. The “gate” was usually sold to a speculator, who, in order to induce patrons to pay for admittance, issued tickets entitling to prizes the purchasers of those which bore certain numbers.
The East Coast Amateur Athletic Club (formed on 9 December, 1886) required competitors to wear University costume or rowing, football or cricket uniforms. In 1895 a Gisborne Amateur Athletic and Cycling Club was formed. The Gisborne Amateur Athletic and Harrier Club (established in 1919) arranged visits by overseas teams as under:
1922—South Africa (J. Ayres-Oosterlaak and J. W. Bukes, both of whom attended the 1920 Olympic Games, D. A. Leathern and I. G. Emery). On account of their first runner failing to transfer the baton cleanly, the visitors suffered their only defeat in a relay race during their tour of Australia and New Zealand. Ayres-Oosterlaak's time for the 75 yards Dash was 7 4–5 secs.—a Poverty Bay record.
1923—United States (Maurice Kirksey, who ran second in the 100 metres event at the 1920 Olympic Games, C. G. Krogness, who gained second place in the hurdles at the 1921 U.S.A. inter-varsity sports, and J. W. Merchant, an exponent of field events). Kirksey retired after running only a few steps in the 75 yards Dash, alleging that the local runners had got away to a flying start. There had been three previous false starts. As he had gained only fifth place in the 100 yards handicap it seemed that he was (as he claimed) off colour.
1926—United States (Jackson Scholz, who won the 200 metre event and came second in the 100 metre contest at the 1924 Olympic Games, and Lloyd Kahn, whose colours were lowered during his tour by Randolph Rose, the New Zealand amateur mile champion).
1931—United States (George Simpson, R. Kiser and H. Rothert). Simpson won the 100 yards contest in 9 4–5 secs., and Rothert threw the discus 135 feet 3 inches—both Poverty Bay records.
1938—West Indies (J. R. Cumberbatch, N. Stanford, J. Ashmead and M. Josel). The team had competed at the Sydney Empiad. Cumberbatch equalled Simpson's record time in the 100 yards event.
By winning the 100 yards New Zealand ladies' championship at Christchurch in December, 1927, Miss Norma Wilson, of Gisborne, qualified for a place in the New Zealand team which competed at the Olympic Games at Amsterdam in 1928. She came second in her heat in the 100 metres, but, on account of the bad starting (which led to the starter being hooted off the field and replaced), she was able to obtain only third place in a semi-final, and did not become eligible to start in the final. At Stamford Bridge (England) Miss Wilson won her heat in the 100 yards event in 11 4–5secs., and came fourth in the final. In a scratch race she triumphed. At Middlesex she won her heat in the 120 yards contest in 13 1–5 secs. and the final in 13 2–5 secs. She competed at the New Zealand championships for 1929–30 at Wanganui, but had to be content with third place in the 100 yards event. In the 1932–33 season she emerged from retirement, and, at Christchurch, again won the ladies' title, her time being 11 2–5 secs.
District amateur records:
Men (Senior)—75 Yards: Ayres-Oosterlaak, South Africa (1922), D. Coates (1931), R. Dandy (1932), G. Quinn (1937), 7 4–5 secs. 100 Yards: G. Simpson, U.S.A. (1931) and J. R. Cumberbatch, West Indies (1938), 9 4–5 secs.; G. Quinn (1935), 10 secs. 120 Yards: G. Quinn (1934–37), 12 secs. 150 Yards: G. Quinn (1935–37), 15 secs. 220 Yards: G. Quinn (1935), 22 1–5secs. 300 Yards: G. Quinn, 31 4–5 secs. 600 Yards: G. McDonald (1924), 1 min. 15 secs. 880 Yards: G. McDonald (1929), 2 min. 2 2–5secs. 1,000 Yards: D. Leathern, South Africa (1922), 2 min. 22 1–5 secs. One and a-half Miles: J. Sloan (1948), 7 min. 25 secs. Three Miles: P. H. Francis (1929), 14 min. 40 2–5 secs. High Jump: L. Grey (1939), 6 feet 1⅜ inches. Pole Vault: L. Grey (1940), 11 feet 2 inches. Thowing the Hammer: S. Gribben (1949), page 446 117 feet 1½ inches. Discus: H. Rothert, U.S.A. (1931), 135 feet 3 inches. Javelin: S. Gribben (1948), 148 feet. 440 Yards Hurdles: R. Leach, Wairoa (1929), 61 1–5 secs. 440 Yards Relay (3 men): Kirksey, Krogness and Merchant, U.S.A. (1923), 46 secs. 440 Yards Relay (4 × 110 yards): G. Quinn, F. Martin, E. Grant and K. McIntyre (1934), 44 4–5 secs. One Mile Relay: P. H. Francis (880 yards): G. McDonald (440 yards), T. Corkery (220 yards) and O. Paltridge (220 yards) (1928), 3 min. 47 2–5 secs. Five Miles Cross-country: T. Kent (1924), 29 min. 30 secs. Broad Jump: J. Merchant, U.S.A. (1923), 23 feet.
Cycling—One Mile: S. Parker (1939), 2 min. 29 4–5secs. Two Miles: F. Pollard (1928), 5 min. 11 2–5 secs. Five Miles: T. Campbell (1931), 14 min. 1 1–5 secs. Waihirere Circuit: G. Hewson (1930), 47 min. 54 secs. Makaraka Triple Circuit: F. Pollard (1928), 31 min. 44 4–5 secs. King's Road: A. Campbell (1931), 22 min. 34 secs. Gisborne-Te Karaka-Gisborne: J. Algie (1928), 1 h. 53 min. 51 secs. Fifty Miles: G. V. Griffin, Hawera (1925), 2 h. 34 min. 25 secs. Gisborne-Tatapouri: J. Algie (1928), 23 min. 21 secs.
Men (Junior)—100 Yards: R. Meban (1948), 10 secs. 220 Yards: R. Meban (1949), 22.5 secs. 220 Hurdles: R. Meban (1949), 26.5 secs. One Mile: J. Sloan (1948), 4 min. 36 secs. One and a-half Miles: J. Sloan (1948), 7 min. 25 secs. Three Miles: J. Sloan (1947), 16 min. 3 secs. Pole Vault: S. Garland (1949), 10 ft. 4½ inches. Javelin: W. Robinson (1949), 161 feet 3½ inches. Hop, Step and Jump: J. Cleary (1940), 42 feet 9½ inches. Hammer Throw: M. Roderick (1949), 110 feet 1 inch. Discus: W. Robinson (1949), 122 feet ½ inch.
Women—75 Yards: Miss N. Wilson (1929), 8 3–5 secs. 100 Yards: Miss Wilson (1929–30–31), 11 3–5 secs. 120 Yards: Miss Wilson (1929–30–33), 13 2–5 secs. 150 Yards: Miss N. Eastwood (1926, twice), 18 1–5 secs. Broad Jump: Miss R. Phillpotts (1944), 16 feet 6 inches. Javelin: Miss E. Smith (1949), 75 feet 7½ inches. Discus: Miss H. Shelton (1949), 73 feet 11 inches. Shot Putt: Miss B. Sheen (1937), 32 feet 11 inches. 440 Yards Relay: Misses Eastwood, Wilson, Hansen and McCarthy (1927), 52 4–5 secs.
G. Quinn (Gisborne) won senior national titles as under: 100 Yards (1937–38), 10 2–5 secs.; and 220 yards (1935–36) in 22 1–5 secs. and (1937–38) in 22 3–5 secs.
Junior National Titles (1949)—R. Meban (Gisborne), 100 Yards, 10.3 secs.; 220 Yards Hurdles, 25.7 secs. J. Sloan (Gisborne), Two Miles, 10 min. 10 2–5 secs.
Professional Athletics: At the early athletic sports in Poverty Bay money prizes were usually awarded. Most popular were those which were conducted by the Poverty Bay Caledonian Society, St. Patrick's Sports Club, the Hospital Sports Committee and the Britannia Cycle Club. Formed in 1910, the Poverty Bay Centre of the New Zealand Athletic, Cycling and Axemen's Union staged the New Zealand professional championships at Gisborne in January, 1920. They were conducted at Gisborne by the Ngatapa Sports Club in January, 1927. A. W. Elliott acted as a handicapper for various clubs for 27 years.