As the summer track and field season really starts to get into gear, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the amazing event which Sydney Olympic Park played host to last week: the Invictus Games. I hope that all of you had the opportunity to watch some of these Games, either live or on television, because they were an inspiring reminder of just what individuals can achieve in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. The story of Invictus can be found here.
I have borrowed a passage from this Story because it speaks to an issue where Athletics NSW can make a positive contribution. “How can we challenge perceptions and send a positive message about life beyond disability?” One of the strengths of Athletics is that there can be a home for everyone within our sport. In the soon to be published Athletics NSW Strategic Plan, 2017-2021, you will see reference to our commitment to a ‘vibrant community’ within athletics, which embraces diversity. There is an opportunity for everyone within the Athletics movement to make our sport that bit more inclusive and we will all be richer for that effort.
Finally on Invictus, congratulations to Athletics NSW Competitions Manager, Ben Offereins, and Athletics NSW Officials Coordinator, Ashleigh Crook, for the huge part that each of them played in delivering this remarkable event. To all of our wonderful officials who were also involved, thank you as always for your investment in athletics and I am sure that you will have formed some wonderful memories over the past week.
The past weekend also saw the first community round of All Comers for the Summer. A massive thank you to the Committees and volunteers of both Mingara and Illawong for delivering two great meets on Saturday. We had more than 100 competitors at each venue, which is an increase from the numbers for the community meets last summer. Building capabilities within Clubs to deliver athletics meets remains a key priority for Athletics NSW – if your Club isn’t yet hosting or co-hosting something in either summer or winter, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly to discuss what some options could be - email@example.com
It has also been a great start to the summer competitions. Participation for both of the first two rounds, at Blacktown and SOPAC, were strong, while the NSW All Schools Championships were the biggest in the history of the state. The calendar for the rest of the summer is available on the Athletics NSW website here, and I would suggest that everyone keep one eye on the NSW State Relay Championships, to be held at SOPAC on 24/25 November. As we all know, teams for Relay Championships can take a bit of organising, the sooner you get your teams locked in the better.
We’re also very excited to have the Athletics NSW app back in action for the 2018/19 season. With the online check-in function in use for all Athletics NSW competitions, live updates of track and field results available, and now also the ability to follow specific athletes and event disciplines in the brand new “Fan” section, it’s a better time than ever to download the app. It is available to download from both the App Store and the Google Play store by searching “ANSW”, and best of all, it’s free!
Finally, for those of you whose passion is for the longer stuff off the track, I am pleased to confirm that the Fernleigh15 was run and won on 21 October with over 1250 participants. Commonwealth Game representative Celia Sullohern again stormed to victory in the women’s race, Paralympian Christie Dawes was the winner in the wheelchairs and exciting Bankstown young gun Hamish Wallace grabbed the men’s title. We were also pleased to see hand-cyclist Mark Brown participating this year. He scorched the 15km in an overall time of 44 mins 29.
See you at the track (and if you are within driving distance of Armidale, it’s not too late to enter the final event of the Greater Bank Fun Run Series this weekend. Register here, and remember that entry to all Greater Bank Fun Run Series events is free for ANSW members),