Athletes clear major hurdle

SEVENTEEN 'little' athletes from Dubbo have qualified in their respective events for the state championships at Homebush, following another successful regional carnival.

About 650 athletes competed in the Little Athletics Region 3 Carnival at Barden Park at the weekend. Competitors from Sydney and as far west as Cobar arrived with their families, for a weekend of tough competition. Athletes from the Blue Mountains, Central Tablelands and Western Plains Zone had qualified for the track and field events, enabling them to compete at the carnival.

The top two finishers in each event, plus the next best eight performers from all the regional carnivals, qualified for a spot in the State Championship at Homebush in March.

Payton Smede qualified in six out of seven events at the weekend including the 100, 200 and 400 metre sprints, the 80 and 200 metre hurdles and long jump.

Other successful athletes from the Dubbo Athletics Club were Lily Drash (second in 400m sprint), Andrew Dickerson (first in 1500m walk), Sophia Dickerson (second in 1500m sprint, 3km sprint and 1500m walk), Adam Grey (first in 3km sprint), Lewis Foran (400m sprint), Caleb Kaerney (second in 60m hurdles), Isabella Cameron (first in high jump, second in discus and 800m sprint), Maya Piras (first in 70, 100 and 200m, and second in the 400m) and Remus Watson (first in high-jump, 200 and 400m sprint and 80m hurdles, second in long jump).

Qualifiers from the Dubbo RSL Memorial Club (that helped co-ordinate the carnival with the Dubbo Athletics Club) were Samara Collins, Tallulah Ambrose-Kassis, Kacey Krisante, Amelia Prince, Elyssa Bailey, Jonathan and Mitchell Bourne.

Carnival publicity officer Cameron Porteous said the weekend ran fairly smoothly.

“The Dubbo competitors had stiff competition, particularly from the Orange, Bathurst and Glenbrook clubs,” he said.

The age groups were from the under-8s to under-17s. Events included long jump, high jump, shot put, discus and running events ranging from 70 metres to three kilometres.

Porteous said the highlight event was the 100 metres at the end of the carnival, which drew a large crowd.

“Throughout the whole weekend families had their tents set up on three sides of Bardon Park. The carnival made about $7000 within the two days.” He said all money made at the weekend would go towards the new track and grandstand at Barden Park, with construction set to begin in April to be ready by next year. 

Zone and meet manager Ernie Sluiter said the event expanded the number of regions from five to eight, which meant Western Plains had gone from a regional carnival with five zones to three zones.

“The chance of gaining a spot at the state titles has increased slightly. There’s plenty of incentive to put in a good performance,” he said.

Dubbo Athletics Club registrar Peter Bass said planning had been going on for months leading up to the weekend.

“It was a lot of work but financially rewarding for the club. Thanks is due to all who helped out over the weekend.”

A photo spread of the carnival will appear in the Weekend Liberal.

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