Dubbo athlete star at 40th New Year Carnival

The strength of Dubbo athletics was one show at the weekend’s New Year Carnival, with 48 local competitors setting new records.

The 40th edition of the Carnival, one of the real staples of the local sporting calendar, was a huge hit, with competitors coming from across NSW and also interstate to test themselves at Barden Park.

And while many visiting athletes performed well, it was the locals who shone the brightest.

“It’s always like that,” Dubbo Athletics Club president David Williams said.

“There’s a lot of familiar faces and you know they’re going to do well because they’re talented athletes.

“Sometimes you get the odd athlete who turns up who you haven’t seen before but the ones who visit are always pretty good. If they travel, they’re coming for a reason.”

Of the 48 Dubbo athletes who set new records, records were reset when the Carnival returned the refurbished Barden Park, 19 of those set at least three.

Local all-round athlete Kaleb Kearney, in the 15 years class, was one of the real stars of the meeting, taking part in 14 events and breaking records in nine of those.

He won two of the more unique events, the hammer throw and the steeplechase, while he also set records on the track and also the triple jump, high jump and javelin.

Millie Gooch, one of Dubbo’s leading young competitors, was another standout and incredibly won each of the seven events she went in, breaking records in the process.

Matthew Bridges set five new records, showing his skills by winning on the track and also the long jump, high jump and triple jump.

The annual Open Men’s and Women’s Invitational handicap races were again a real highlight.

“In the women’s between first and second there was only a whisker,” Williams said.

“That’s the way you want it. You want to get the handicap right so you could throw a blanket over the whole field.”