Athletics Wollongong's Christmas gift

The Athletics Wollongong Gift is one of the most keenly contested club events on the calendar. The Gift is a handicapped event over 100m involving all age groups. Races are run eliminating slower contenders until we have a winner.

We have been lucky in the past to have had a generous sponsor who had donated prize money to enhance the enthusiasm of the competitors. We are extremely grateful to Dennis Bindon of Bump Products in Wollongong for his generous support since the inception of the Gift.

For this year's event held on December 9, Russell Rann of True Flow Plumbing in Wollongong came on board with a generous donation of $150 to cover the top three positions of the event, 1st $100, 2nd $30, and 3rd $20. Russell's son Callum is a seriously capable 400m runner, so it is great to have this family on board at the club.

After a series of exhausting rounds and the competition dust had settled, we finally had our first three placegetters. First prize went to Alistair Swinbourne, second to Seattle Bazley and third to Genevieve Tozer. Well done placegetters and to our sponsor True Flow Plumbing for a truly successful event.

The AW Gift created a domino effect through the rest of the program with a number of records being broken. The standout was Kailee Moore in the WU18 who broke a 24-year-old triple jump record by 6cm, setting a new mark of 10.64m. In the 60m sprint Kailee shaved .06 sec off the record setting a new one at 8.10sec.

Heaps of 60m records fell that night, Thomas Carleen MU12 from 8.71 to 8.60 sec, Miller Siasat MU14 8.36 to 8.29sec, Gabriel Bickel MU18 from 7.50 to 7.34 sec, Adrian See M40-49 7.71 to 7.69 sec, Rebekah Power W40-49 8.87 to 8.47 sec, Rodney Tebbutt M50-59 8.47 to 8.37 sec, Simon Harmey M60-69 from 9.01 to 9.00 flat.

Just when we felt that there were no more records for Christine Shaw to break she smashed three in the W60-69 class, 60m from 9.90 to 9.83sec, added 55cm in discus to 24.83m and 31cm to triple jump 7.87m. Olivia Sivills was our final record-breaker with her run of 2min 26.34s in the U18 800m beating the old mark by over 1 second (2min 27.73s).

Congrats to our small group that put out at the Campbelltown Carnival yesterday. Great to see Karlee Symonds in good form with a first in the Open para 60m 9.42 seconds. Jett Link did exceptionally well against the Open Men in the 60m clocking a nippy 7.71 sec.

In the Open Women 400m Hurdles the super fit Susie Seitaridis came 2nd with 66.55 sec, and finally in the massive Open Men 200m field James McPaul was 11th with 21.98 sec. There were two runners above James on 21.97 indicating how close times were in the top positions of the group.

The Albie Thomas mile event is a major event in the ANSW Calendar for middle distance runners. The mile was conducted by Bankstown Athletics Club at the Crest track Bankstown on December 19.

COVID restriction on Northern Beaches athletes did affect numbers in certain events. Two of our runners did exceptionally well; Suzie Seitaridis came 5th in the final of the 400m hurdles. This event was truly interesting as three of the hurdles athletes are coached by Mel Smith at Beaton Park. One of her Kembla Jogger runners Sarah Carli won the event with a spectacular 55.09 sec breaking the Olympic Qualifier time of 55.40. Squad members Brodee Mate, Kembla Joggers and Monica Byers IBS were also in the final.

Tayissa Buchanan who is only 14 competed in the Open Women B division race over 800m. She came 4th with a 2:12.74. That time was so close behind the best Open women competitors, even running faster than one of the A division times.

Athletics Wollongong would like to wish everyone and in particular our members and supporters a safe and Happy Christmas and New Year.

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