LITTLE Athletics has launched its 2017 season with a bang, featuring talented new faces from around the region.
But they’re still missing some key recruits.
With only a small number of girls signed up to date, club president Claudia Green is making a shout-out for more budding female athletes to join the squad.
Having grown up attending Little Athletics, Claudia has first-hand experience of how rewarding the program can be.
‘‘I loved the competition and the opportunity to spend Friday evenings with my friends from other schools,’’ she said.
‘‘The challenge to beat personal bests and to break records was always a good motivation to try harder. Plus I stayed fit and healthy.’’
Claudia said Little Athletics equipped girls with the confidence and skills needed in future sporting pursuits - as well as in life in general.
‘‘As a teacher I see a number of girls compete at school sports and they often lack the self-confidence to try their hardest,’’ she said.
‘‘The fear of not winning seems to play a major role in kids not competing in sports.
‘‘Little Athletics combats this fear, as it’s a program that focuses on individual achievements through personal bests, rather than who won each race or threw or jumped the furthest.’’
The program’s ability to shape the sports stars of tomorrow is evident in the list of achievements from past members.
Little Athletics alumna Carly Whitford is just one example.
Currently holding records for a number of U11 to U15 events, 70m and 100m events were Carly’s forte during her teen years.
Awarded the athlete of the meet at the Oceania Games in Tahiti and state champion of relays in track and field, Carly Whitford is right at home on the running track, whether it’s sprints or hurdle events. The heptathlete didn’t quite make the podium in Tahiti but was sure to make up for it in relays, where she scored gold and silver medals.
It’s not a short list for Ash Mangan either — the athlete has won gold and silver for her efforts in state level athletics as well as the title of 2000 Pan Pacific gold medallist. From an early age Ash set her sights on netball and saw premierships for Kyabram’s U17s team, as well as another six playing for the A-grade side.
Zerlina Green represented the green and gold overseas in 2006 while she was in Canada and America on a scholarship program. Green proved she had what it took in the U7 60m hurdles – a record which she still holds to this day.
Lauren Pryde also started young, securing records for U7, U8 and U10 events, which she still holds. Pryde also tried her hand at netball and accompanied Mangan for Kyabram’s A-grade premiership ride – all six.
Megan Williams’ U9 and U15 hurdles efforts are yet to be bettered, so too are her high jump achievements. She holds seven records from her Little Athletics days as well as the shared title of state champion relays in track and field.
Discus was Claudia Green’s specialty. The current president’s efforts in the late 1990s have yet to be beaten as she won the under 10, 12, 13 and 15 events.
‘‘As you can see by these women’s achievements, anything is possible if you put your mind to it,’’ Claudia said.
‘‘For most of us it has been at least 10 years since we have competed in athletics, but we have gone on to succeed in netball or continued in the athletics field in some way.
‘‘Little Athletics is a great pathway into other sports.’’
To get involved in Little Athletics, jump online to www.lavic.com.au and follow the links to register. Or contact Claudia on 0409 886 929.