COMPETITIONS IN ITALY NEW ZEALANDERS PROMINENT N.Z.E.F. Official News Service FLORENCE, July 24. Sixteen New Zealanders were included in a team of 26 representing the Eighth Army zone in a two-day Allied track and Held championship meeting here. Two were reserves, but one fell ill and, of the 13 actual competitors, two gained thirds, while an all-New Zealand team was second in the relay. This was a good effort, for the men who had no opportunity for intensive training or coaching, and competition in some of the events was of world class.
Seven zones, including a predominantly French team from North Africa, contested the teams' championship, which resulted in an overwhelming win for the Fifth Army zone. This was an all-American team, except for one Britisher.
The meeting was a triumph for negro competitors, who took eight firsts, seven seconds and five thirds. Five places went to negroes in French units, and the others to American negroes, one of whom, P.F.C. William Dillard, provided the highlights of the meeting in winning the 110 metres hurdles in 15s, and the 200 metres low hurdles in 24 l-ss, both very easily, in classic displays of hurdling. Handicapped by a sore throat, Sergeant L. Brown (Canterbury) made a very game effort to stay with Staff-Sergeant L. Handcock (Surrey), two-mile walking champion, in the 3000 metres walk. Handcock was trained to the minute and won brilliantly.
Bad judgment cost Colin Dickie (Canterbury) second place in the 1500 metres. Dickie took the lead at half way, but he lacked condition to fight out a hard finish and just missed second place, six yards behind the winner. Private D. Grant (Southland) ran solidly in the 800 metres, but threw away third place by letting a Frenchman through on the inside in the last three yards. Later Grant ran a fine 800 yards in the relay, after losing a shoe 200 yards from the tape and then sprinting into second place in the straight. With third place in his heat of the 100 metres and second place in his heat of the 200 metres, Bombardier R. R. Chatwin (Auckland) qualified in the sprints and ran a very game fourth in the final in first-class company. Trooper R. F. Buckingham (Waikato) was second in his heat of the 400 metres, but found the field ui the final too good. Private C. Stewart (Hawke's Bay) ran third in his heat-of the 200 metres, and Corporal B. R. Hansen (Wellington) was given an ovation when, although lapped, he kept going and finished out the walk. Trooper B. W. Garlick (Taranaki), Chatwin, Stewart and Grant made up the 1000 metres relay team, in which Chatwin ran a brilliant 200. The event was won easily "by the negro Fifth Army team in 3.39 2-5", but the New Zealanders put up a great showing against a fine team.
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ARMY SPORTS, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 176, 27 July 1945
ARMY SPORTS Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 176, 27 July 1945
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