The South Island Colgate Games proved a resounding success at the Caledonian Ground in Dunedin over the weekend with 25 local young athletes competing.
The event, which hosts 7 -14-year-olds, saw many personal bests achieved with plenty of proud parents looking on.
More than 4000 entries by nearly 950 children from 39 clubs broke the South Island Colgate Games record number of participants.
In total, the Colgate Games, across the North and South Island, received more than 7700 entries from over 2000 athletes.
The North Otago Athletic and Harrier Club brought four medals home, which were all won by Stanley McClure.
Going into the competition as a relatively unknown, McClure emerged with his four championship medals from the highly competitive 10-year boys grade.
The 10-year-old progressed through his heats and semi-finals to win bronze in the 100m final on Friday, followed by a silver in the long jump on Saturday morning.
After qualifying second fastest in the heats for the 200 meters, the young speedster picked up a second bronze medal in the final.
The winner of these three titles hailed from the North Island, making McClure’s South Island ranking better by one place in each event.
On Saturday afternoon, McClure topped his extraordinary performance off by anchoring the 11- year boys relay team to a silver medal in the 4 x 100 meter final.
There was no progression to finals in the divisional competition for 7 to 9 year olds but 17 local athletes in these grades produced 31 podium finishes, many of which were first placings.
Standout performers in the younger grades included Stanley McClure’s younger sister Molly, the 7-year-old won her 60 meters, 100 meters and shot put and finished in second place in the 200m race.
Seven-year-old Jack Nicol was equally impressive winning his three races over 60, 100, and 200 meters and taking second in his long jump division.
Lochie Mavor was very competitive, winning his 60m and gaining second place in his 100m and 200m divisions. The 9-year-old also gained second in his long jump division.
The 11-year boys relay silver medal victory proved to be a highlight of the competition for the young North Otago contingent with Sam Keno, George Mavor, Jacob Fowler and Stanley McClure producing an exceptional performance to pass several more highly rated teams.
The young 7-year boys relay team, with a 5-year-old in tow, also performed well to master the baton changes and reach the podium in third place in their division but there was disappointment for the 8-year boys team.
Following some impressive baton changes to gain second place in a competitive division and beating last year’s fastest South Island team in the process, the team was disqualified for a foot on the line at the last change.
Despite a protest, including a video replay, the decision was not reversed but the four team members showed great resolve with each gaining podium finishes in their respective 100 meter divisional races on Sunday.
North Otago Athletic and Harrier Club Jeff Spillane said the local athletes represented North Otago with distinction in testing conditions.
“All North Otago children represented North Otago displaying the very best values of sport,” he said.
“A never say die attitude, fairplay and full effort even with the odd knockback.
“The result was a regular run of wins, placings and personal bests, the young team fronted up to the biggest childrens competition of the year with very little experience at that level coming away with fine performances.”
By James Ford