Outstanding performances from a pair of young North Otago athletes has made this year’s South Island Colgate Games in Timaru last week one to remember for the local contingent.
Stanley McClure (13) was the star for North Otago at Aorangi Park, with his all-round efforts across three events earning him a full set of medals.
He won gold in the boys 13 grade 100m, silver in the 200m and bronze in the long jump against the some of the South Island’s top young athletes, as well as small contingents from the North Island and Queensland who travelled to the meet.
North Otago’s other medal-winner was Briar Johnson (14), who claimed bronze in the girls 14 grade 100m.
North Otago Harrier and Athletics Club president and team manager Jeff Spillane said McClure’s and Johnson’s performances were special given the calibre of the athletes on show.
“It was certainly a tough competition so getting any medals turned out to be quite an achievement, to tell you the truth. They certainly did very, very well. They’re very mainstream events .. especially in that older age-group.”
He said McClure “burst on to the scene” as a 10-year-old and was a fine example of hard work paying off.
“He was a dominant force this year. He only lost the 200m by three-hundredths of a second, so he almost took gold in that as well. He’s a bit of a colossus because his sprint races would have covered a kilometre. He did three 100m races, three 200m races and a relay (4x100m).
“To come through that and in his second-to-last race take out the 100m final was a very, very big effort. He’s turned up and done all his best running at a major championship.”
Spillane said Johnson was a relative newcomer to the athletics scene but made up for a lack of experience in raw ability.
“She’s a prime example of the school talent we have. For Briar to come through that and get the bronze .. there’s a lot of potential there. She’s a very exciting prospect.”
Overall, he was happy with the progress the team had made in the past year and believed its performances in Timaru, with several athletes qualifying for semifinals and finals, boded well for February’s Otago championships.
“The medals are great for the team and it’s a huge boost as opposed to coming away with none. If you look at the middle ground in the team that’s quite exciting too. When we go to the Otago champs, a lot of these kids are going to do well.”
The Colgate Games are for athletes aged 7 to 14.