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New Zealand Record Holder

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Peter broke the New Zealand High Jump record twice

  • 6ft 6¼in (1.99m); 23 January 1954
  • 6ft 7 1⁄2 in (2.02 m); 11 December 1954

On the morning of 23 January 1954, Wells broke the New Zealand high jump record at Rugby Park in Christchurch with a jump of 6ft 6¼in

Christchurch Star-Sun 23 January 1954 "Both New Zealand High Jump records - J.H. Borland's residential record of 6ft 5in, and the Australian, J. Winter's 6ft 6in record - crashed at Rugby Park this morning at the Pat Booth Memorial Shield athletic meeting when the Canterbury Club high jumper Peter Wells hurled himself over the bar at 6ft 6¼in in his second attempt. Wells great jump also gave him a new Canterbury record for the third Saturday in succession. Two weeks ago Wells just topped Borland's 6ft 3¼in Canterbury record which had stood for six years. Last Saturday he improved his record to 6ft 4in. Both Borland's and Winter's New Zealand records were set at the Empire Games in Auckland in 1950.Today Wells was jumping as one of a team of three - the winning team. The nearest approaches to his jump were made by his own teammate F. Walls, and the Marist jumper A.M. Harbott, who both cleared 5ft 8in."

On 11 December 1954, Wells again broke the New Zealand high jump record at Papakura, Auckland, with a jump of 6 ft 7 1⁄2 in (2.02 m). This was to be the highest jump of his career, which equalled equalled the British high jump record set by Alan Paterson on 2 August 1947.

Contemporary Newspaper Report: "A magnificent leap of 6ft 7½in by P. Wells at Prince Edward Park, Papakura, on Saturday clearly established him as the greatest high jumper ever to appear in this country. Wells' jump was a wonderful performance, as the competitors were handicapped by a strong cross wind. Both Wells and the 17-year-old national junior record-holder, M. Jeffries, of Papakura, were the only competitors left in after 6 feet 0¼ inches and both cleared 6ft 3 inches. Jeffries failed at 6 feet 5 inches, but Wells succeeded at this height in his second attempt and then cleared 6 feet 6½ inches at the first attempt to add one quarter of an inch to his old record.

When the bar was raised to 6ft 7½in Wells cleared it with a magnificent leap, which carried him almost 2 inches clear. The bar was then raised to 6ft 8½in and in his first two attempts Wells went close to clearing it. As he prepared for his third and final effort the crowd on the embankment were hushed. A car door, which slammed in the distance, sounded like an explosion. Wells, concentrating on the formidable task facing him, was seen to start, before settling down again to judge his run-up. A few slow steps, and then with a quickening of his pace he launched his body at the bar. There was a gasp as it was seen that he had cleared it with his body, but this changed to a groan as his back foot dislodged the bar as he was descending.

With Wells jumping in such consistent form - he has cleared 6ft 4in three times in the last two weeks - his latest mark does not appear likely to remain long on the books. The merit of this performance is best appreciated when it is realised that this leap would have gained first place at the 1948 Olympic Games. It also equals the winning performance of B. Nilsson (Sweden) at the recent European championships."

Contemporary Newspaper Report: "It did not take long for Peter Wells to become accustomed to the Auckland climate for in his first competitive appearance, the former English Olympic representative leaped 6ft. 6in. in appalling conditions and failed at 6ft. 7in. only by the touch of a kneecap. The follwing week Wells cleared 6ft. 4in with ease and then set the bar at 6ft. 7in. Once again this height defeated his effors but not by much, and the following week in a special attempt at the Papakura meeting he soared over 6ft. 6½in. at the first attempt after failing once at 6ft. 5in. The bar was then raised to 6ft. 7½in. and there was a might roar from the crowded embankment as Wells sailed at least 2 inches above the crossbar. Encouraged by these efforts he attempted 6ft. 8½in. and in his final try at this height appeared to be over when the back foot knocked off the bar in descent. As I write Wells national record stands at 6ft. 7½in., but I think this is a very shakey mark which could be erased even by the time this appears in print. Judging by the ease with which Wells slid over that 6ft. 7½in. I would say that his ceiling may rest about 6ft. 9in.

It was 14 years before the New Zealand record was broken by Willian R. (Bill) Speirs on 1 March 1969, with a leap of 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m).
Record breaking jump