Athletes at the Games Excerpt


New Zealand track & field medal winners at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games

Page 140

(now Matthews)
Competed at:   Edmonton 1978
Medals:   Silver – 3000m

From a 5m 11s miler in 1969, Heather Thomson developed into a Commonwealth Games silver medallist over 3000m, nine years later, a result that rewarded her gutsy run in the altitude of Edmonton.

When the 3000m became a regularly contested event for women, Thomson was to the fore, eventually running a New Zealand record of 9m 7.4s in March 1978.

Thomson’s first international event was the Pacific Conference Games in Tokyo in 1969 where she finished fifth in the 1500m. From 1971 to 1979, she was a regular member of the New Zealand Cross Country team to the World Championships, captaining the team in 1975 when the women finished with the teams silver medal.

With the advent of international road relays, Thomson’s attention turned to the road representing New Zealand in the 1983 Ekiden Relay. Selected for the World Womens 10km Road Championships in 1984, she withdrew due to injury.

In recent years Heather Thomson has given freely of her vast experience managing New Zealand Road Relay teams to various events and being Assistant Manager to the 1992 Oceania World Cup team in Cuba.

NZ Titles:   NZ Records:
1 mile   1969   3000m    1, 1978
3000m   1978-9
Cross Country   1973

Page 141

(now McCarthy)

Competed at:   Sydney 1938
Medals:   Bronze – 80m hurdles

On 12 February 1938, Rona Tong became one of the first two New Zealand women to win medals in international athletics when she ran 11.9s for the 80m hurdles, claimimg [claiming] bronze. Two days earlier she had run an excellent 12.1s in finishing second in her heat. Her final’s time of 11.9s remained the best by a New Zealand women until 1949.

Tong also ran the 100 yards in Sydney finishing fifth in her heat.

The 1937 New Zealand title appears to have been official at the time but no longer appears in the record books.

NZ Titles:   NZ Records:
80 yards hurdles   1937
80 yards hurdles   1, 1935
90 yards hurdles   2, 1937

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  • John Clark


Athletics New Zealand


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