Athletics club has new president

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The North Otago Athletics Club has a new leader.

Stacey Smith has taken over as club president this season, replacing Jeff Spillane who spent seven years at the helm.

Smith, who served as club treasurer for the past two seasons, said she was thrilled to be stepping into the role of president.

“I’m excited. It’s been quite amazing to watch the kids … to watch their growth, and it’s really cool to see them go to competitions – they’re having so much fun,” Smith said.

She joined the club because of her son Ben (18), who wanted to take his athletics further when he was 15.

While her son was no longer part of the club, she continued taking her friend’s children to the club’s athletics nights and competitions.

It was the people involved in the club and watching the athletes support each other that kept her involved.

“It’s a really nice group of people. For me, it’s just about being involved in something in the community.

“It’s great because it’s an individual sport … but it’s a great team too. You get all the age groups down, they’re all competing in different things, but they’re all on the sideline cheering each other on. I like that kindness.”

The club had about 80 “amazing” registered athletes last season, and she hoped the club reached similar numbers this year.

She also wanted to attract more athletes to take part in the competitions and events available, including the Colgate Games in Invercargill this season.

“I’d really like a big team to go this season. I’m quite motivated to get as many people there as we can. It’s really nice to see them all in gold in the stands and for people not to forget little old Oamaru.”

The club was also focusing more on teaching children new skills this season.

The club hosted a “have a go” session on Wednesday night, and another would be hosted next Wednesday evening for anyone interested in joining, she said.