Two Illawarra Olympians - Jessica Hull and Sarah Carli - recently gave up some valuable time to return home to help out their foundation little athletics clubs at their annual awards presentation evenings.
Hull started her career at Albion Park Little Athletics, where she showed early signs of talent under the guidance of her father Simon. Fast forward to 2022 and Hull showed excellent form in a number of races, breaking the Australian records for the mile and 3000m with times of 4:24.06 and 8:39.79 respectively.
At last year's Olympics, Hull broke the Aussie 1500m record in the semi-final with 3.58.81, before she was joined in the final by Victorian Linden Hall. Prior to those Games, only two Aussies had ever made the women's 1500m final. Hull placed 11th overall with a time of 4:02.63.
Ably assisted by APLAC founding president Ian Hatfield and current president Robin Harvey, Hull presented many awards, including long distance runner of the year (girl), Chelsea Nicol, who broke Hull's long-standing U/11s 1500m record.
Other members recognised were Jedd Fowler (long distance runner of the year - boy), Ayla York (most outstanding athlete - girl), Xavier Wilson (most outstanding Para athlete), Sidney Bartle (thrower - girl), Justin Lakeman (thrower - boy), Brooklyn McWilliams (jumper - girl) and Mackay Jones (jumper - boy). There was also honours to Para-athletes Talaya Blacksmith, who won a gold and two silver, and Charlize Colwell, who won a bronze at nationals.
Meanwhile, Carli was aged eight when she joined Wollongong City Little Athletics and went all the way through to U/17s. She would show determination at 16 in her pet event, the 400m hurdles, winning the Australian 400m hurdles title in 60.52s.
At the 2011 Australian championships, she placed second and secured selection for the World Youth Championships, where she came second in 58.05s: the fifth fastest Australian junior time. In 2019 at the Canberra Track Classic, Carli qualified for the World Championship with 55.67s, coming second in the final.
Carli continued to train in Wollongong and in her first hurdles of the season in December 2020, she ran a personal best of 55.09 and moved up to be the fourth fastest Australian of all time.
The biggest miracle in Sarah's life was her comeback from a serious gym accident which cut her carotid artery. She overcome the setback to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, gaining a fifth place in her heat for the 400m hurdles.
Assisted by WCLA president Chris McCabe, Carli recently presented a number of awards to the eager crowd.
Firstly, Carli acknowledged the 51 competitors to state, who won four gold, four silver and four bronze medals, and presented some major awards. Kaitlin Williams received the President's Award, while honours were given to state record holders Harlow Pate (U/8s girls 200m) and Sophie Howson (U/11s girls 80m hurdles). Kumon State Combined Carival Awards also went to Michael Melfi (fifth) and Harlow Pate (first).
Also, just a reminder to the general community a fundraiser barbecue for Delta Amidzovski will be held on June 11 at Wollongong Bunnings to help with the cost of competing in the World Junior Championships.
Congratulations to the three masters who competed in the NSW Throws Pentathlon on May 7 at Illawong. In the men's 65-60 class, Simon Harmey came fourth on 1931 points. In the women's 60-64, Christine Shaw was second with 3274 points and in the women's 70-74 class, Adriana van Bockel came first with 2493 points.
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