Young team steals the show

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Nine-year-olds are not supposed to win medals at the Colgate Games – but no one told Sadye Kawau that.

Sayde was drafted in to North Otago’s 11-year-old girls relay team to help make up the numbers at the South Island junior athletics competition in Christchurch last weekend.

The team was already giving away a few years to its opponents, with two 10-year-olds, Mya Robinson and Seddah McGregor, and only one 11-year-old, Jacinta Miller, in the team.

North Otago Athletics Club president Jeff Spillane had to seek special dispensation for the team to take part in the 4x100m event, as medals are not usually awarded to anyone under the age of 11.

Spillane explained to officials they were unlikely to medal because of their young age.

“I thought maybe there would be a 4% or 5% chance we could sneak into a bronze,” Spillane said.

But after qualifying seventh for the final, the girls ran the race of their lives to win a silver medal, in a time of 61.21sec.

“I could never have predicted that; it was very exciting,” he said.

“We were happy with making the final.”

The relay team was joined on the podium by Sebastian Spillane, who took bronze in the boys 13 years 800m, with a time of 2min 21sec.

With more than 1000 athletes attending, medals were not easy to come by, Spillane said.

In the past six years, North Otago has only had three individual athletes win medals, and one other relay team.

“Any time we get a medal we are very happy,” Spillane said.

“This year was as successful as we have had.”

The under-9 contingent was also very successful, so the future of North Otago Athletics looked bright, he said.

Results

Senior, 10 to 14-years-old. Finalists: Sebastian Spillane, 400m, 4th, 59.14sec; Seddah McGregor, 800m, 5th, 2min 53.26sec. Semifinalists: Sarah Jamison, 100m, 3rd in heat, 6th in semifinal 200m; Sebastian Spillane, 100m; Michael Woodhouse, long jump 10th, 4.37m; Seddah McGregor, high jump 9th; Mya Robinson 100m, 3rd in heat, 5th in semifinal; Jacinta Miller, 100m, 3rd in heat, 6th in semifinal.

Junior, 7 to 9-years-old: Sadye Kawau, 1st 100m, 60m, long jump, 2nd 200m; Daniel Woodhouse, 1st 100m, 3rd 60m; Kiana Goodsir, 2nd long jump, 3rd 60m, 100m, relay; Isaac McLean, 2nd long jump, 100m, 200m, 3rd relay; Lauchie McLaren, 1st 100m, 2nd 60m, 3rd 200m, relay; Stella Kawau, 1st shot put, 100m, 60m, 3rd relay, 200m.