Young athletes ready for Games

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The 37th Colgate Games will ensue today at the Caledonian Ground in Dunedin with a strong representation of 24 athletes from North Otago ready to compete against the South Island’s finest young athletes.

This year’s Colgate Games, known as New Zealand’s National Junior Athletics Championship, has received a record breaking number of entries to the South Island Games with more than 4,000 7-14 year-old athletes expected to compete.

In total, the North and South Island Games has received over 8,700 entries for a host of track and field events and IAAF World Indoor Championships Bronze medallist and 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Tom Walsh will act as ambassador of the event.

North Otago Athletic and Harrier Club president Jeff Spillane said the local athletes have prepared well for what will be the biggest event many of the youngsters have competed in.

“We are excited to have such a large contingent to represent North Otago at the Colgate Games,” he said.

“The competition will be extremely tough with record entries this year, the kids have shown great commitment over the holidays attending many additional trainings.┬áSome Saturday mornings, ┬áthe biggest challenge has been to get them to finish training and go home.”

Spillane also credited parents for their support throughout the season.

“Parents have shown great commitment also, getting children to the trainings over the holiday period and many also committing to helping the Otago Centre run the event,” he said.

“We are excited about all the relay teams chances of making the top three with a lot of training going into baton change practice.

“It is the first competition of this size for many of these children so predicting outcomes will be difficult.”

Strong performances are expected in the sprint and long jump from Stanley McClure, Jacob Robinson in long jump and discus and Grace Keno, Lochie Mavor, Max Fatafehi and Brae Hughes -Todd in the sprints.

By James Ford

PHOTO: The North Otago athletics team; Campbell Fowler, Sam Keno, Halalova Asi, Stanley McClure, George Mavor.

Second row – Ezekiel Goodsir, Jacob Robinson, Brae Hughes-Todd, Jayde Read, Mya Nicol, Grace Keno, Elenoa Asi.

Front row – Lochie Mavor, Max Fatafehi, Sebastian Spillane, Jack Nicol, James Read, Patrick Spillane, Molly McClure.

Absent – James Jackson, Niamh Jackson, Olive-Coco Verkerk and Mya Robinson.