The Bundaberg Super Park was alive with colour at the weekend when 214 young athletes from across the region competed at the Central Coast Regional Athletics Carnival.
West Bundaberg Little Athletics hosted kids from six other clubs – Thabeban Little Athletics, Gayndah, Monto, Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Isis.
Despite the oppressive conditions, on and off the track, many of the young athletes qualified for the upcoming state titles which will be held in Brisbane from 19-21 March.
West Bundaberg Little Athletics secretary and team manager Leayr Franchetto said it was fantastic to see everyone do so well on the track, and in the field.
“It makes you so proud just to see them compete; if they get a place that is even better,” Leayr said.
“To see them interact with the people from all the other clubs it is just the best feeling.”
At the Central Coast Regional Athletics Carnival there were 214 kids in age groups from Under-7 to U17, with medals awarded from Under-9 and up.
Leayr said while the Under-7 and Under-8 aged athletes were out to enjoy themselves, and it was nice to see the competitive boys and girls running around with a smile on their faces.
Bundaberg's Jake Garland has earned scores of participation ribbons in the past three years at little athletics, and this year is the first time he was able to take home medals.
By mid-morning on Sunday the Avoca State School student was beaming with pride at the Bundaberg athletics facility after collecting three gold and two silver medals.
Jake's success came in the Under-9 boys 800m, long jump and shot put; while he earned silver in the 60m hurdles, and 200m when Jake was beaten across the line by Janiru Hewamadduma.
Before heading to Brisbane, where he knows the competition will be tougher, Jake said while the medals were great to have there was a special reason he liked athletics.
“Getting to compete with your friends and just trying with all you've got (is what I like about athletics),” Jake said after his fierce 200m race.
“I am just going to have fun in Brisbane after training harder.”
Central Coast Region Little Athletics Queensland regional coordinator Kerri Wills had time to reflect on the performance of the competitors at the Central Coast Regional Athletics Carnival.
She thought the two-day event had been a great weekend, despite the heat, and she was pleased there had been a lot of records broken, and many personal bests set.
“They're very tough kids – they have obviously put the work in,” Kerri said.
“It is fantastic from our point of view, we have over 200 kids here this weekend, and the vast majority will qualify for Brisbane for the state champs.”
Athletes, regardless of their age, always strive to be better, and Kerri said she knew this fact will put her young stars in good stead at the end of next month.
“It will be really tough racing, really tough competition, but we'd expect quite a few medals to come back home,” she said. “Bigger environment to compete in, but they get very excited and that produces good results as well.”
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