Young athletes from across the South Island will put their training into practice for the 37th year of the Colgate Games at the Caledonian Ground in Dunedin from January 16 to 18.
The 2015 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.Oamaru and Waimate will be well represented with 25 athletes from the North Otago Athletic and Harrier Club and 25 from the Waimate Athletic Club heading south.
North Otago Athletic and Harrier Club president Jeff Spillane said the local athletes has trained well in recent weeks and are looking forward to the event.
IAAF World Indoor Championships Bronze medallist and 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Tom Walsh will be the ambassador for the 2015 games, encouraging and inspiring young athletes to challenge themselves and do the best they can.
“The Colgate Games are a great stage for Kiwi kids to compete. It’s a fantastic opportunity for all the athletics clubs and supporters to get together, and a wonderful experience for the kids,” said Walsh.
“I remember when I went to the Colgate Games when I was younger, It was a really big deal as it is the biggest athletics competition around as a child. It inspired me to train harder and push myself all the way.
“My advice to the children competing would be that they try their very best. It can be hard pulling out a performance at a big competition, but so long as they give it their all, they can be very proud of what they have achieved, irrelevant of whether they receive a medal or not.”
The 2015 Colgate Games will host athletes from 108 athletics clubs across New Zealand participate in the two events in Wellington and Dunedin with the ultimate prize being the Nick Willis Scholarship.
The scholarship is awarded to athletes who have outstanding performances throughout the Colgate Games events in January, and gives recipients funds to put towards sports gear, coaching, travel, and other resources to help them with their athletics goals.
By James Ford