Oceania Success!

26 Jun 2019

Athletics Wollongong representatives were part of the Australian team to contest the Oceania Championships in Townsville. Twenty three countries participated in the event, with elite athletes using the opportunity to qualify for the World Championships.


AW’s top performer was James Turner, who won gold in the Open Para Men’s 400m in a time of 53.24s. This effort broke the existing T36 World Record and now leaves James holding the 200m, 400m and 800m marks for his classification.

Turner had actually ran faster than the World Record on several prior occasions, including a performance at Beaton Park last year, but needed to repeat the feat at an event with drug-testing for a new mark to be ratified.

James contends that he can go even faster in the 400m, as he now sets his sights towards the World Para Championships to be held in Dubai this November. Having moved to Canberra to train out of the AIS, he’s giving himself every opportunity to defend his three World titles.


Also in the Para category, Shoalhaven youngster Karlee Symonds received her first taste of international competition. At only sixteen years of age, Karlee competed against far older athletes in the Open Para Women’s 100m, with her 15.46s performance earning her a bronze medal. Athletics Australia had earmarked her for international success in the T11 (visually-impaired) category and her medal-winning effort here could be just the first of many.


Athletics Wollongong’s final representative was James Gorham, who contested the U18 Pole Vault. James was faced with challenging wind conditions as well as the stress of his vaulting poles taking a roundabout route to Townsville. On arriving for the Championships he discovered his poles weren’t on the same flight, instead being sent to Brisbane to be trucked through the night to their destination. Luckily they arrived in time and he was able to put together a 4.10m performance – comfortably enough for a silver medal.


Athletics Wollongong President Michael McClelland is immensely proud of the achievements of the Club members: “It’s so satisfying to see our athletes meet the success their efforts deserve. It also gives such great encouragement to the rest of their club mates to dream, believe and achieve!”