Athletes of all ages and abilities were back on track as they converged at Bundaberg Region Athletics Facility for the annual Coles Spring Carnival.
Taking to the track in five events was 14-year-old Shalom College student Josh Bulbert who said he was enthusiastic to compete against other athletes from around Queensland.
Josh said he had been competing since he was seven years of age, and he said athletics had given him opportunities he may not have had otherwise.
“Next year I will be heading on a development tour in New Zealand – they choose athletes who may not be the best but show potential to advance,” Josh said.
“My PB in 100m is 12.85 seconds, and 200m is 28.67 seconds.
“Taking part in events like today will help me work towards my goals.”
Bundaberg Athletic Club president James Bulbert said there was a significant increase in entries this year compared to others, which showed athletes across Queensland were excited and keen to return to competition.
James said all running, throwing and jumping events across all divisions were contested, with participants and their families coming from the Gold Coast, Townsville, Biloela and everywhere in between.
“We are centrally located with a fantastic tartan track, so it’s always a draw card for athletes to come here to compete,” James said.
“Bundaberg has this wonderful facility, so thank you to Council for providing that.
“The Spring Carnival gives athletes from across the whole state a wonderful opportunity to compete.
“This is actually the first event LAQ (Little Athletics Queensland) has been able to hold this year, and everyone is keen to compete again.”
James said the whole community benefitted from Coles Spring Carnival, as local businesses would see the flow on effect from the visitors staying, playing and eating in the region.
“We have about 150 local athletes competing, and the rest would be from outside of the region,” he said.
“We have our COIVD-19 safe plans in place and everyone is enjoying the competition that will go right through until 9pm tonight.”
Diverse range of athletes at Spring Carnival
Little Athletics Queensland CEO Simon Cook said it was great to have a diverse range of athletes all in one location; he believed there to be 52 little athletic centres participating in this year’s Coles Spring Carnival.
“We have over 550 athletes here, which is more than normal – actually it’s 130 more than last year,” Simon said.
“It’s wonderful to see, especially during these times as we didn’t know how many to expect and we were blown away by the response.
“It’s massive and the number just kept going up and up.
“I think everyone, after the break with COVID-19, was just really excited to be back on track.”
Stepping out on the field to represent the Bundaberg Region was 18-year-old para-athlete Sam Schmidt, who said it was great to finally return to competition.
Sam is a multiclass athlete who competes in discus, shotput and javelin; she is the Australian record holder for Open Women’s Para Discus and Shotput, and also the Oceania record for discus, and she has her sights set on the Tokyo Olympics.
“I’ve been competing for 14-and-a-half years now and I really enjoy coming to competitions like the Spring Carnival,” she said.
“It’s just really good to get back into it, and having it here makes it a lot easier for all the local athletes.
“I look forward to competing and I can only hope each time I do better then I did in my previous event.”
The Spring Carnival is held each year at the Bundaberg Region Athletics Facility and is open to all U7 – U17 LAQ registered athletes as well as non-Little Athletes Queensland registered, age appropriate, athletes.
Coles Spring Carnival is also endorsed by Queensland Athletics for registered QA/ANQ U18s plus to participate.