It is an exciting time for our sport as the New South Wales summer season gets underway and we head into a Commonwealth Games year on home turf at the Gold Coast.
There is certainly a plethora of athletics over the next 2-3 months with;
- The All Schools Multi Championships, warm-up for New South Wales All Schools, and All Comers conducted this weekend,
- Followed in the ensuing weeks with three Treloar Shields,
- The NSW Relay Championships,
- The 3000m Championships,
- Another Treloar Shield,
- 5000m Championships,
- Our Club Championships,
- Another Treloar Shield,
- The Albie Thomas and All Comers.
- We also have the New South Wales All Schools themselves in a few weeks, one of the biggest events on the New South Wales calendar, and of course,
- The Australian All Schools in Adelaide in December of this year.
Definitely a busy athletics run into Christmas.
Let me say publicly that it is my complete honour and privilege to be President of Athletics New South Wales. It is very humbling to lead the sport I love and one that I am passionate about, and to do so for the largest state of Australia.
In the short space of time that I have been Chair (one week) I have spoken to a large number of people and two things are evident:
Firstly, we are in the best position that we have been in for over 10 years in all aspects of how that is measured, this includes but is not limited to our financial results, participation numbers, communication initiatives, and governance structures.
Secondly because of our strong position we are on a springboard to leap into a new golden era for our sport.
Let me address each of these points separately. The position we are in currently is a result of hard work and skilful thinking of many people that have gone before, equally in terms of staff, board members, and of course volunteers from all aspects of our sport.Together we have created an Association (Athletics New South Wales) that is the envy of many sporting organisations around Australia.Those of you reading this that can remember the state of play 10 to 12 years ago would appreciate especially how far we have come in that period of time.There are too many people to thank for this situation but it has been a concerted team effort.
Looking forward, as we must do, my personal vision which I hope to impart onto the Association has three key components:
1. OneSport has to be the overall strategic direction that we take for the benefit of our sport.We are too small to go this alone, and from the point of view of external organisations like the media, government bodies, and indeed the general public we are seen as “athletics”.As we move further into the 21st-century the governance structures of how we represent our sport are of lesser importance than the principle of having OneSport. I will be working with Little Athletics, Masters Athletics, school sports, and pro running, to achieve this result.
2. The second aspect for the direction of our sport that I see is a continued focus on the increase in participation.Regardless of how we implement events, how we market events, and how we present events the underlying success, and also the size of our sport, will be determined by the number of people participating in it.This has been a strategic imperative for the ANSW Board and this focus will continue.As we increase participation, in whatever form of athletics people are interested in, then the ongoing benefits will be self evident.
3. The third aspect to my overall vision is a focus on our members.And I don’t just mean the corporate members that own the company ie our Clubs.I am sure that like me you would think of yourself as a ‘member’ of Athletics New South Wales... so when I say members I don't just mean corporate members but also athletes, coaches, and of course officials.Underlying our decisions must be a reflection of the needs of our Clubs, athletes, coaches, and officials. This is what I call the “athletics family”. Like all families we will have disagreements and conflicts but we are collectively instrumental in building our sport.
I am confident that these three objectives will act as the building blocks for the growth and future development of our sport.
In looking forward, I think we have the strongest leadership team that collectively we have had for many years.I include in this statement our current Board which has a collective skill set and diversity that places us in a position to make what will sometimes be hard decisions but well considered ones.Equally so, the office staff of Athletics New South Wales is a new and strong team.The individuals have experience and skills that can deliver the goals and objectives that have been set.Moreso,as a total team the office staff of ANSW is a cohesive and energetic group.They have my absolute 100% support and my faith in their operational decisions.
It would be remiss of me not tothank the retiring directors who have stepped down this year.Thank you to Merrilee Barnes, who in the short period of time that she was on the board gave us guidance from the point of view of what the Australian Sports Commission is looking for in sporting organisations.I would also like to thank Neil Hinton for his long-term commitment to the Board of Athletics New South Wales. Neil was an active participant in the development of our sport from the beginning of our rebuild to what is now a healthy organisation.I know we will see more of Neil in his other roles but I particularly want to thank him for his contribution to the board.I would also like to thank Brian White for five solid years of contribution to our sport.Brian was involved in many of the discussions to do with our strategic plan, as well as OneSport strategies, and he led the rewriting our constitution and bylaws.Of course, Brian was the Chair of the Board for the past 12 months and contributed enormously not only within New South Wales but also to discussions with Athletics Australia.Again, I'm sure we'll see Brian in other athletics roles.
Finally, I will be at most athletics events over the coming weeks and months.Please do not hesitate to come up to me, as many have done before, to discuss any issues that you have a concern about, or any ideas that you believe will make our sport an even better one. I encourage you to approach me and let me know your thoughts.I look forward to seeing you at an athletics event sometime soon.
Yours in athletics,
Chairman, Athletics New South Wales