Athletics Wollongong: Coast-to-Coast

29 Apr 2019


The Arafura Games were a biennial multi-sport event held in Darwin, fostering relationships and spreading cultural and sporting knowledge in the Asia-Pacific region.  After an eight-year hiatus it was back on the calendar with Track & Field competition provided for development athletes (16-19 year olds) and Open Para competitors.  Athletics Wollongong's Karlee Symonds and James Turner were both selected to participate and also took the opportunity to get their international classifications.

Karlee Symonds was first to hit the track, competing against far older athletes and performing admirably, reaching the finals of both the 100m (9th - 15.40s; 77.34%) and 400m (4th - 1'13.60s; 76.09%).  As a T11 (visually impaired) athlete Karlee tethers herself by the hand to a guide runner and relies on them to communicate (both verbally and through movement) her course and relation to other runners.  A recent rule changed the type of tether that is used - and she only received her new one the day before -  which makes her performance even more impressive, given the little opporunity to practice.

James Turner returned to race the distance in which he made his name: the 800m.   Amazingly, this was his first competitive 800m race since he took out the World Championship title in 2017.  He's subsequently switched to the 200m, following a program change for the Tokyo Paralympics, so he must be very encouraged by his fitness, given his time of 2'05.08s (T36 - 97.85%).



Our Masters athletes made their way to Melbourne for their National Championships.  Though the conditions weren't conducive towards great performances, the Athletics Wollongong crew came home with a sway of medals.  Our pole vaulters, while both battling achilles tendon injuries, both made their way onto the podium with Will Tyler winning gold in the M60-64s (2.70m) and Montse Ros finishing with a silver in the W40-44 division (2.70m).  Anthony Howlett celebrated his return to our sport with silver in the M50-54 Pentathlon (2646 pts), 400m Hurdles (1'13.96s) and Triple Jump (9.64m).  And Adriana Van Bockel scored bronze in the W65-69 Discus (16.63m), Hammer (20.51m) and Weight Throw (8.63m).



Some of our Dual members were part of the NSW team's wins at the Little Athletics National Championships in Hobart.  The U15 division is held as an individual multi-event, whereas the U13s is a team-based competition across a selection of events.  Lara Check (4739pts) and Eleanor Tozer (4259pts; 8th) battled in the U15 Girls' heptathlon with Lara a narrow (3 point!) winner over the large field.  This was the same track on which Lara was agonisingly close to a medal in the hep at the recent National Multi-Event Championships, so her win may have exorcised some demons!  Lara and Eleanor then combined in the Mixed 4x100m relay for a second placing.

In the U13 division, Chelsea Ezoeke and Delta Amidzovski continued their impressive season of performances.  Chelsea won the 200m (25.74s), 400m (57.28s) and was part of the winning 4x100m relay (49.24s), as well as collecting a bronze in the 100m (12.62s).  Delta won the 80m Hurdles (12.17s) and Long Jump (5.58m) events, beating both existing meet records.  She also took out the 200m Hurdles (27.92s), as well as silver in the Medley Relay (2'28.20) and a bronze in the High Jump (1.67m).