31 October 2018
NSW members honours with Athletics Australia Life Membership
At Athletics Australia’s recent Annual General Meeting, three people form NSW were honoured with Life Membership. Two officials, Graham Dwight and Peter Reynolds, along with Ted Simmons were bestowed with this honour.
Graham Dwight (NSW) became interested in athletics when his children began competing at the Hornsby Little Athletics Centre in 1974. He first helped because he felt he was obliged but soon realised that he liked it. He quickly became an official in those events that interested him most - the field events.
As his children got older they all joined the Cumberland/Ryde-Hornsby (now Epping) Athletics Club. His interest increased as his sons began winning state and national titles before both earned selection for the World Junior Championships. When the boys retired, their father stayed on – much to the great benefit of New South Wales, Australian and Oceania athletics.
Graham became an official with NSWAAA in the 1970s and also played a key role in the re-establishment of the NSW Throwers’ Club. Graham has served in administrative roles in both Little Athletics and with NSWAAA – including with the latter as Director – Technical and as a member of the officials advisory panel.
His commitment to ongoing learning for himself and others, combined with Graham’s high level of skills and dedication led to appointments to many international athletics championships, including the 1996 World Junior Championships in Sydney (as assistant throws referee), the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sydney in 2000 (as a throws referee), the 2001 Goodwill Games (as a throws chief judge), the 2006 Commonwealth Games in 2006 (as combined events referee) and the Gold Coast in 2018 (as an EDM judge).
Graham became interested in the provision of good throwing surfaces and in particular all aspects of safety surrounding throwing events. After a number of serious incidents and close-calls, AA decided to conduct a national audit of hammer cages. Graham was asked to take the lead role in the project, pursuing it with much diligence and empathy – doing his best to offer sound solutions.
His knowledge and its application meant a long term membership of AA’s Facilities and Equipment Commission and appointments by both AA and the IAAF as a technical delegate for national and international meets, including the IAAF World Challenge in Melbourne.
As AA and it member associations began to fully integrate para-athletics into its programs from the 1990s, Graham was one of the first to embrace the opportunities, with particular interest in the seated throwing events.
Graham was instrumental in ANSW acquiring its first EDM for improving the accuracy and speed of measurement of all throwing events and his persistence quickly ensured that the use of electronic distance measuring became a standard part of officiating nationwide.
Graham obtained the IAAF Level II Diploma in officiating and was appointed as an International Technical Official for Oceania. He is one of Oceania and Australia’s most knowledgeable and efficient officials and his ready smile and constant attention to detail is to be admired, always willing to help other officials.
Graham has been recognised for his contribution to the sport as a Merit Award holder of ANSW of which he became a Life Member in 2014. He received the AA Gold Award for 30 years service as an official and administrator in 2013.
Peter Reynolds (NSW) first became involved in athletics officiating when his daughter enrolled in The Hills District Little Athletics Centre in 1977 in turn moving on to zone, region and eventually state level. As with so many others as his daughter progressed to senior athletics, so did Peter.
But unlike too many others, Peter made the decision to continue in the sport – in the 40 years since providing leadership and guidance to many others. Peter has remained a member of Hills District Athletics Club throughout.
He first officiated for Athletics New South Wales in 1988 in horizontal jumps and soon officiated at national competitions. He quickly became a highly effective official and his firm but friendly approach saw him quickly appointed to chief judge and referee level.
In 1996 Peter was a jumps judge at the Sydney World Junior Championships, followed by a chief’s role at the Olympics four years later. Then recognising his continuing development, Peter was appointed as a referee for 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane.
In 2002 Peter obtained the IAAF Level II Diploma in Officiating and was subsequently appointed as an International Technical Official (Oceania). He is today an ITO (Oceania) Emeritus
His experience and approach saw him appointed as the call room referee at the 2006 Commonwealth Games when this role was still emerging at international level. In 2009 he was appointed by the IAAF as the Technical Delegate at the IAAF World Tour meet in Melbourne.
In 2018 Peter was a field judge at the Commonwealth Games, meaning that he had then officiated at international events for 22 years.
When Peter was asked to move outside his traditional comfort zone to become a national technical delegate not only for track and field meets but perhaps even more so for out of stadium competition, he moved seamlessly into the role delivering a series of reports which have greatly benefited future meets under AA’s jurisdiction.
But Peter’s contribution to athletics goes well beyond his own officiating.
He has been a member of the ANSW Official Advisory Panel since it was formed in 2002 and chair from 2005. Peter’s chairmanship has seen many important innovations including the development of training and mentoring programs for officials in NSW and beyond.
Peter’s calm and professional approach as competition director ensures those around him perform to the highest standard – he encourages and inspires others. He allows chiefs and referees to do their jobs, but his broad overview sees potential problems before they actually happen.
There is absolutely no doubt Peter Reynold’s contribution to athletics in Australia has gone significantly beyond “just being an official”. His approach is to lead others to ensure the rules of the sport are fairly enforced, but always in the interests of the athletes. Peter’s mantra is “Athletes first, common sense second and the rules third”.
The golden strains of his voice have been heard at Australian athletics events for nearly five decades but as dedicated and consistent as his voluntary work as an announcer has been, it is but a part of his exceptional service to and involvement in athletics over more than 70 years by Ted Simmons OAM (NSW).
Ted joined the Eastern Suburbs club in Sydney in 1947, competing in New South Wales inter-district and state championships competition, most proficiently in jumping events until 1960 when he first became an official.
Within a year he got his first appointment with the then Amateur Athletic Union of Australia as an announcer for an international meet at ES Marks Field. Ted’s profession as a journalist and radio announcer proved to be of huge benefit to athletics both at state and national level. His knowledge of the sport and excellent delivery style soon ensured that he was a number one choice as an announcer at local, national and international events in Australia.
Both in his work for the Daily Mirror, Radio 2SM and most notably with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and in a voluntary capacity, Ted was most adept and prolific in composing and publishing media releases and articles. He was particularly keen to source and research articles on athletics when he noted that there was a shortage of stories on other sports. This regularly gave coverage to athletics’ stories that might not otherwise have got a run.
He is equally recognised for his presence as an announcer at countless interclub meets as he has been at so many major international events in Australia – Pacific Conference Games (Canberra 1977), Commonwealth Games (Brisbane 1982), IAAF World Cup (Canberra 1985), World Under 20 Championships (Sydney 1996) and the World Masters Games (Sydney 2009).
In 2000 he was one of Athletics Australia’s nominees for the Australian Sports Medal which acknowledged his outstanding service as a competition official, especially as an announcer and as an athletics writer. Ted was elected as a life member of Athletics NSW in 2003, a year later was nominated for Australian of the Years and in 2005 received the Athletics Australia Platinum Service Award for 40 years service.
In 2006 Ted was further recognised by the Australian Honours System with the Medal of the Order of Australia – which acknowledged not only his service to athletics and journalism but also to soccer as a referee and historian and as an administrator in ten pin bowling.
Image: Graham Dwight