North Otago Athletics Club members have been putting in the hard yards.
A group of young athletes has been busy training over the summer break in preparation for the Lovelock Classic, and the South Island Colgate Games.
Club president Stace Smith said the club did not usually train much during the summer break, but this season club stalwart Jeff Spillane held twice-weekly training for the two relay teams to work on baton changes.
The relay teams, a 9th grade girls and 11th grade boys team, were an ‘‘added bonus’’ for the Colgate Games this year.
‘‘Everyone’s into it and excited,’’ Smith said.
North Otago had 11 athletes aged between 6 and 14 heading to the games in Invercargill this weekend and they would compete in most disciplines in both track and field.
Last year, only two North Otago athletes attended the Colgate Games in Nelson. Smith said it was great to have a strong team heading away this time and she was excited to see what they could achieve.
‘‘It’s quite a good spread — it’ll be quite a busy few days. It’s a fun, exciting atmosphere for everybody.’’
Last weekend nine athletes got their first taste of competition at the Lovelock Classic, in Timaru.
‘‘It was heaps of fun. It was a really nice day, heaps of really good kids and good competition. It was probably a nice warm-up for the ones that are going to Colgates to get that competition in before,’’ she said.
Jax Carey placed second in the boys grade seven 60m, 100m sprint and long jump, Stella Kawau placed second in the girls grade nine 60m and her sister, Sadye, placed second in the grade 11 100m sprint.
Smith was proud of all the athletes’ efforts.
‘‘I think everyone was pretty happy. I think I’m a bit less focused on where everyone’s placing and just more [for them to] go out there and do their best. I know a couple of them ran their personal bests which is always good.’’
The South Island Colgate Games finishes on Sunday.