Track and Field with Valmai Loomes

The Illawarra Track Challenge is proving to be one of the best meets of track and field in the state and the performances all around are exceeding expectations. What a day/night of track and field.

It was not only the performances of the athletes but also our own officials who worked in so well with Athletics NSW that helped produce a quality championship meet.

Opening the evening, Commonwealth Games silver medallist in the hammer, Alex Hulley showed why she is in world class with a magnificent display of throwing. The Sutherland athlete had full control of the event, and was a clear winner by 10metres. The field was a quality one and her win was even more impressive with a throw of  61.57m.

Abbie Taddeo was so impressive in her win over the Kings Track and Field Championship 60m and she was not going to be denied the win after missing last year’s event due to  Athletics Australia commitments. In a time of 7.34sec she showed her blistering speed out of the blocks and held on to win a great 60m. Training partner and another local product Stephanie Power just edged out Maisie Stevens, Power in 7.56 and Stephens in 7.57. Five divisions were run in the women’s championship event, and locals were well up in the title events. Blue Stars Emma Matthews recorded the fastest time of the club’s female athletes and pocketed a small cheque to celebrate the club’s 65th season of track and field. Her third place in the women’s 60m under 18 in a time of 7.84, was an impressive run  by a young 15-year-old athlete.

The men were not going to be outdone and what a race this turned out to be. Competing for the State Kirrawee Prestige Smash Repairs title, defending champion Anas Abu-Ganaba had to run a quick time of 6.72 to nudge out his team mate from Campbelltown Ismail Dudu Kamara with Kenneth Vvong  Asics West, taking out third in a time of 6.90. The event presented some great competition and times over this short popular distance with 8 sections being conducted. Fastest IBS athlete Kyle Grubnic ran an impressive 7.02 to just beat club mate Lachlan Parry (7.09) Impressive for IBS was newcomer to the club, Corey Williams who ran 7.25 to take third in the under 20 men’s title. He also performed well in supporting event, the long jump. Unlucky athlete was IBS’s Jonti Faulkner who was placed in a slower heat and was not pushed at all to win his round but time not good enough to take a placing. In a fastest heat Faulkner may have been in the mix with the under 18 men.

Once again the Bing Lee Mile for both men and women was a highlight and running under the lights in perfect conditions the young athletes dominated in the women with a brilliant run by 17-year-old up-and-coming distance athlete Jayla Cameron-Hancock finishing in a great time of  4min 41.95sec to defeat University’s Georgia Winkcup running 4min 48.47 and another young athlete Lauren Carey from St George club taking out bronze. Winkcup tried to bridge the gap created by Hancock but admitted the  gap was too much and she felt he left her run too late. It was an impressive run by the winner and one that will be noted by Athletics Australia as a future distance runner.

Then the men’s mile was a little more tactical and a cat and mouse game developed throughout the race. It was not until the final straight that Run Crew member Jackson Sharp took control to cross the line in 4min 11.02 from Randwick Botany’s Sam Byrne  in 4min 12.16 and Nathan Breen from St George in 4min 21.69

Supporting events were also of a high standard and  400m athlete and gold medallist at the World Youth Games Bendere Oboya ran an impressive 53.45, a time that establishes her among the best 400 athletes in Australia. She defeated local athlete Sarah Carli who is showing great improvement over the flat 400, an indication her 400 hurdles will be just as impressive.The men’s was a quick one also with Jordan Sarmento stopping the clock at an impressive 47.42 from Damien Mizzi in 48.86 and Rohen Laurendet in 49.72.

In the background and making a reappearance at a major meet, Blue Stars Masters athlete Gianna Mogentale stopped the clock at a good time of 8.69 to break the NSW record, wind reading looking good for her to claim yet another state record. A return to the track saw former champion Australian sprinter and Australian rep, Peter Gandy dust off his spikes after a long absence, to take out 4th in his masters 60m.

What a day/evening. This event is certainly going to be back on the calendar for season 2020.