This season has been the best one since I began my association with UC Ginninderra Athletics Club way back in 2005-06 season. Things were a lot different then for starters we:
- Had the Canteen at the other end of the Oval;
- Didn't have Timing Gates or Discus Cages;
- Our members stopped athletics when they reached 16 years old (or earlier); and
- Tiny Tots were not even on anyone's radar.
The Club has grown from strength to strength over the last 14 years. Our numbers have grown from 200 Little Athletes in 2015 to this season where we had 401 Little Athletes, 60 Tiny Tots and 109 Senior Athletes (Teens to Masters). Making UC Ginninderra Athletics Club the biggest single athletics club in the ACT and southern NSW.
This was only possible by the merger of Ginninderra Little Athletics Centre with Ginninderra Athletics Club on Saturday the 7th of July 2018. The merger is the first of its kind in the ACT and a model now the pin-up for all clubs in Australia and not just the ACT.
I would like to thank the Inaugural Committee of the joint venture club:
- Vice President: Neil Thomas
- Treasurer: Emma Fitzpatrick
- Secretary: Fiona Jarvis (Member Protection Information Officer)
- Registrar: Jodie Collins (Public Officer)
- General: Cameron Crombie
- General: David Lemon (LAACT Board Representative)
- General: Sarah and Paul Fowler
- General: Martin Ross
- General: Phil Ebbott
- General: Tim and Leanne Porter
- General: Lauren Allen
During the winter break the Club was extremely busy. We ran our first ever winter season where every Saturday morning we hosted a training session for every age group and a mid-week Cross Country program with Brian Daly. These sessions were very popular and our UC Interns were fantastic in their respective coaching groups.
The 2018 ACT Cross Country Championships on 2 July 2018 witnessed 13 Podium finishes, across almost every age group and it was the broadest representation of any AACT and LAACT Club. This was a trend the Club continued right through the season as our members popped up in every Association event at every level. Similarly in the ACT Schools Cross Country Championships we had 9 podium finishes which was a strong showing in early June 2018.
The 2018 Road Running Championships on 21st June 2018 saw good representation from Ginninderra's ex-stadia runners as they took to the streets of Canberra. There were four podium finishes for the best from the west of Canberra.
The biggest Athletics event in the north of Canberra this season was the Community Sports Gala Day on the 15th of September at Charnwood Oval hosted bay Ginninderra Athletics. The event was well supported by the UC Capitals, the Brumbies, the Brave, ACT Netball, Athletics ACT and Little Athletics ACT. Belconnen Little Athletics Centre declined an invitation to take part. The morning got underway with a welcome by the Deputy Chief Minister of the ACT Yvette Berry. Our local National Sporting teams were not the only stars out there. A plethora of World Athletics Champions were on show including Jayden Sawyer, Vanessa Low, Scott Reardon, Sue Powell and our own Cameron Crombie. Cam's own All Stars team featured World Championship representatives Lauren Wells and Brittany McGowan, and World Uni rep Angus Gould, Commonwealth Games rep Vivian Williams and middle distance emerging talent Reece Langdon. The showcase 100m handicap race featured Ginninderra Athletics Premium Sponsor Jake Battenally from Ray White Belconnen up against Lauren Wells and Vivian Williams. Carly Wilson from the UC Capitals was the MC for the day. The overall results in the Primary Schools Team Challenge had Miles Franklin finish first in the Boys, followed by Weetangera (second) and Radford Junior College (third). In the Girls Miles Franklin again took the Gold closely followed by Radford (second) and Yass Public (third). Macgregor had 6 teams in the competition and that is worthy of a special mention itself. Thanks to the volunteers from the University of Canberra's Education, Sports Science and Health faculties for running the event on the day. Lindsay Mitton was one of the dedicated Event Managers and Organisers along with Fiona Jarvis, Debra Evans and Paul Fowler. Over $4500 was raised on the day and it was distributed in the form of sporting equipment vouchers from Hart Sport to the first three place getters in the Boys and Girls Primary Schools Team Challenge.
Of course UC Ginninderra Athletics Club was not only active on the track but also in the Board Rooms on the Association. David Lemon, Rory O’Sullivan, Neil Thomas and Stuart Todd were all supporting the running of LAACT this season. Whilst Hamish Macdonald, Phil Henderson and Steve Dodt were involved in the running of AACT. This presence not only showed our commitment to the sport in the ACT but was also above and beyond most other Clubs where we also managed our own weekly competitions as well as being so heavily involved at the highest levels locally too.
Ginninderra Athletics with the wonderful support of the Telstra Kids Fund (Telstra Foundation) meant that this season we trialled a connection to Australia’s fastest network, the NBN. Every member of the club could access for free Ginninderra's very own Wi-Fi hotspot. The Committee also trialled connecting the Timing Gates to the NBN to provide Live Results via the Results HQ web app.
The Club continued to be innovative leaders in the sport by being named one of a handful of Little Athletics Centres in Australia to be trialing the national On Track Program before it officially starts across Australia in 2019/20. The program is a new way of athletics training with an emphasis on skills development, participation and lots of fun activities. With the assistance of our Junior Coaches along with the mentoring from Alex Gill, Jordan Green, Fiona Jarvis and Luke Allard the On Track program proved to be very popular.
This season with the support of the ACT Government under the 2018 Disability Inclusion Grants program Ginninderra Athletics Club enhanced our programs to make them more inclusive for children of all abilities. Ginninderra now provides a mainstream pathway for families with additional needs to engage in local athletics, and their community more broadly, in meaningful ways. The development and piloting of Ginninderra's model is now available to other athletics clubs locally, to Little Athletics ACT and Little Athletics Australia.
UC Ginninderra Athletics Club also became an accredited partner with Every Chance to Play and the NSW Government's Active Kids program. Joining these initiatives meant offering increased opportunities to more families and individuals to get involved in sport without facing the cost burden and therefore increasing the inclusive approach to the club.
2018-19 saw the introduction by Ginninderra Athletics of a new coaching pathway for our athletes and coaches. The UC Athletics Academy operates to assist athletes to further their skills, improve techniques, motivations and knowledge in the sport of athletics. Athletics is a foundation sport and the Academy recognises that its athletics programs are positive, age appropriate and designed to develop a life-long love for sport and healthy lifestyles. The goal is to have a suite of conventional and complementary programs that contribute to more future Athletics and Sporting Champions, to increase opportunities for achieving athletic excellence at every level, build healthier individuals and a more connected community. The UC Athletics Academy is not only a pathway for skills development but also sports development. Athletes can enter or exit any of the programs throughout their individual journey. The Academy supports athletes from their humble beginnings, during rehabilitation, their return to sport, their growth period and also when they reach their elite potential. The Academy has been running for two semesters and already it has attracted a number of new members to the club. These members have gone onto represent the ACT at National level and others have made it onto the playing lists of some of Australia's elite football teams.
Ginninderra continued its Tiny Tots program for the seventh straight season. The program continues to be a fantastic program unrivalled in the ACT not just in the sport of Athletics but also all sports. This is a testament to Debra Evans and Fiona Jarvis in particular.
This season Ginninderra Athletics started offering weekly coaching at Victoria Park in Yass for Tiny Tots, Tiger Cubs, Juniors through to Seniors. This attention has brought renewed interest to the Yass Valley who were recently de-affiliated by LAACT. A number of Yass' athletes have gone onto competing on the Grass Track at Charnwood, whilst others have represented Ginninderra at Association competitions and now one of those is going to ALAC Nationals this year. The first Yass Valley athlete in over a decade to do so while another of Ginninderra's NSW Country Athletes from Albury will be attending the Athletics Australia Nationals this year.
The Junior Coach program started in 2014 also had an uplift this season with significant support in coaches learning the On Track Program. With 22 Junior Coaches rostered on each weekend the coordination and support provided by Luke Allard has been fantastic. The Club also introduced an Athlete Assist Program for older age groups which are lead by our National Class athletes who provide deep technical and practical support and encouragement to our developing athletes on a Saturday morning as opposed to the regular Club Training sessions.
The Club also introduced this season new start times for each event from the U12s and up at our weekly Grass Track meets as well as seeded races for the same age groups, hosted an RU Ok? meet to raise awareness in our community and invested in a new High Jump mat for the older athletes. UC Ginninderra Athletics Club has also received funding from the ACT Government's Capital Assistance Program for our Athletics Infrastructure upgrade program which will see improvements for the Under 9s to Under 11s age groups for the start of next season.
UC Ginninderra Athletics Club introduced a new Volunteer Roster system in 2018-19 season managed by Phil Ebbott. The season-long roster gave our magnificent volunteers a big heads up on when and where we needed them as well as lots of important information on what to do when helping out. We are very thankful to everyone for their assistance this season.
Our weekly photographers were again out in force each week. Their ongoing support over the last 6 years has been very appreciated. This season the Allen, Rauraa, Jarvis and Blackman families captured over 3000 images that were shared on our Social Media channels.
The ACT Schools Track & Field Championships were a happy hunting ground for the club's members. The School Sport ACT 12 years and under championships saw 16 of Ginninderra's best Little Athletes qualified for the national championships where they enjoyed 5 top ten placings. Whilst in the 13 years and above 26 Athletes from the club represented the ACT in Cairns at the Australian All Schools Championships. Our athletes returned from Cairns with 30 top ten finishes which is absolutely amazing in its own right and another five athletes earning 11th place finishes too!! There were also 12 Club and/or Australian Records smashed along the course of the three day competition too.
Our Tertiary students were not to be outdone lead by elite athlete Akua Franklin were ran the semi finals in both the Women's 100m and 200m at the 2018 UniSport Nationals Div 1 Championships held at the Griffith University Athletics Track. In all eleven local athletes represented their respective Uni at the three day event.
This season NSW became a home away from home for Ginninderra Athletes looking for bigger fish to fry:
- The NSW All Schools saw 3 podium finishes;
- NSW Country Carnival attendance;
- The Little Athletics NSW annual Trans Tasman against New Zealand featured four Ginninderra Athletes (two of whom won bronze medals at the international event);
- The 2019 NSW Country Championships featured two top eight finishes from Ginninderra;
- The 2018-19 NSW Masters Championships we scored two podium finishes; and
- The 2019 Sydney Track Classic and NSW Junior Championships featured six athletes with 4 podium finishes.
Competing under the banner of one club at Association Competitions this season enabled Ginninderra to field very strong teams for all Red Track club competitions.
The first red track carnival was the AACT Club Relays Championships where the club won 12 Gold, 12 Silver and 4 Bronze placings across all ages (14-16, 18-20, and Open/Masters) - this is our best ever result at an AACT Championship - giving us the overall Club Championship from Woden and then South Canberra Tuggeranong. In the LAACT Relay Championship that followed the club did amazing overall with our athletes combining together to help UC Ginninderra Athletics finish second overall. Our Boys did one better claiming the Gold in both Track and Field Points tables.
At the Athletics Australia "Canberra Track Classic" event on the Australia Day weekend our resident sprint sensation Edward Nketia set a new NZ U20 200m Record (yes he's a kiwi). The Club was well represented at this invitation only National event by five athletes.
The 2018-19 Athletics ACT Championships featured 728 athletes from right across Australia competing against 37 of Ginninderra's older athletes. Eight club records were lowered among the 60 podium finishes at the Champs.
The LAACT Multi-event Championships in February 2019 featured 44 young Ginninderra Athletes. Overall there was 9 individual medalists and 37 top ten finishers from the club.
The last major event for the season was the LAACT State Championships in early March. In Summary Ginninderra's Athletes collected 66 Gold, 57 Silver and 36 bronze medals as well as a staggering 355 top ten finishes. There were 13 LAACT State Championship Carnival Record or an LAACT Best Performance Records too, aside from the 19 new club records.
At the end of the regular season Athletics ACT announced an Australian Championships team featuring 35 Ginninderra Athletes in the event in Sydney from the 1st - 7th April 2019. This is the Club's biggest representation yet. In the Masters National Championships UC Ginninderra Athletics Club has 7 athletes travelling to Melbourne for the 26th - 29th April 2019 event again a new representative record. There is also thirteen Ginninderra Athletics athletes who have been selected in the ACT Team for the 2019 Australian Little Athletics Championships in Hobart (the same weekend as Masters Nationals).
This season will see UC Ginninderra Athletics Club have the largest representation by one single club across all levels of the sport at a National Championship. The announcement of the LAACT team sees Ginninderra's biggest ever representation at a National Little Athletics Championships in the Club's 40-year history. It surpasses last season's record of 8 representatives.
Up until the end of March 2019, an amazing 80 Club Records have been bettered this season. It is an astonishing series of performances highlighting just how well the club is doing at all levels of the sport from Gras Roots, Community, Tiny Tots, Ex-Stadia through to competitive track & field.
So that's a wrap on 2018-19 season. With only one month to go (April) the Club celebrates its successes and accomplishments with our annual presentation day and AGM. It is also my last as President and I would like to thank everyone for their assistance, support and encouragement over the season and past seasons.
Yours in Sport,
29th March 2019