THE Mercury is looking to promote Illawarra and South Coast junior sporting clubs in the My Sporting Club feature as part of our weekly Junior Sport liftout. This week we are featuring the history and achievements of ATHLETICS WOLLONGONG.
If you would like your club to be featured, contact the Junior Sport email address at juniorsport @illawarramercury.com.au or ring Mike Driscoll on 4221 2203.
Q: Do you know the year your junior club was formed?
A: In 1958, Wollongong Southern Flame was formed and juniors have been competing ever since. In 2000, the club was renamed Athletics Wollongong.
Q: What competition does Athletics Wollongong take part in; how many juniors are part of your sporting club?
A: We currently have more than 70 junior members who compete in a weekly track and field club point-score competition from October to March. Juniors can also compete in events organised by Athletics NSW, including club premierships, country championships and state championships. During winter, the club competes in cross-country and road-running events.
Q: What is your club’s nickname or motto?
A: Our nickname is AW and we often refer to ourselves Big As as there is a definite distinction between a senior athletics club and Little Athletics. Our motto is "fun, friends and family".
Q: Tell us about the philosophy or principles that define your club.
A: As a senior club we cater for all ages from eight to 88 and beyond. The overriding principle has always been to provide the opportunity for our members to try every aspect of the sport of athletics. We encourage participation as we believe that champions need a nurturing environment to develop.
Q: What is the greatest sporting achievement of your club? It may be something recent or in the past.
A: Most recent achievements include winning the country club premiership and country championships Hooper Cup. We had 11 athletes compete at the recent Australian championships with three medallists plus multiple top performances recorded.
Q: Does your club have any famous juniors or members who have achieved success as seniors?
A: There have been many but some of the notable achievers have been Peter Gandy - 1982 Commonwealth Games; Petrina Price - 2002 Commonwealth Games, 2004 Olympic Games, 2009 World Championships; Jaimee Lee-Starr - 2006 Commonwealth Games; Abbie Taddeo - 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games, 2012 World Junior Championships.
Q: What are the goals of your club? They can be either short term or long term.
A: We wish to develop our current members and encourage new people to join, adding depth to all our age groups and hence improving our standard of competition. Long term, we would see ourselves consistently ranked as the top country club in NSW and one day being contenders for the State Club Premiership which has traditionally been dominated by Sydney clubs.
Q: Tell us a little about the competitions you participate in. Would you say it is strong and healthy - how could it be improved?
A: There are many opportunities for athletes to compete, from our weekly club competition and regular Sydney interclub events. There are also a variety of championships events including state relays, multi-events, country and state championships.
Q: Are you still looking for members? How do people get in touch about joining up?
A: Winter cross-country season starts in April, so anyone interested in distance running or just keeping fit is encouraged to join. The summer season of track and field events starts in September. All details about our club are at www.athleticswollongong.org.au
Q: If you have anything to add about your club please do so:
A: Our club caters for both junior and senior athletes. We have quite a large number of parents who compete with their children and have a very active group of masters athletes. The club is also looking for new members for the upcoming 2012 summer athletics season. The club will co-host the Illawarra All Schools Track and Field Championships on July 29.