Jason Chatfield gets goosebumps when describing the journey some of the athletes he coaches are currently experiencing.
Chatfield, a coach at Dubbo Athletics Club, was left amazed at the recent track and field state titles as four of his athletes achieved qualification for the upcoming national championship.
Three of the multi class athletes who take part in para-athletics events.
One of those is Chatfield’s son, Sam, while Zac Harding and Telaya Blacksmith round out the trio. Another of Chatfield’s children, Xanthie, is the other in the four-strong primary school contingent heading to nationals.
While Xanthie’s qualification in both discus and shotput is another honour in what is already a stellar junior career, Chatfield said having thee multi-class athletes from Dubbo heading to nationals is a notable achievement.
“With Sam being my son, it took a few days to sink in what these guys have achieved,” he said after the state success.
“To hear some of their stories. Sam, my son, wasn’t meant to live past 20 weeks and young Zac wasn’t meant to walk and these are the stories you don’t hear about.
“These guys went and competed (at state titles) and there was big fields they were up against. There was 38 Zac was running against, there was 25 in Sam’s discus and Telaya was also up against a heap of athletes so we’re very proud.”
Harding and Blacksmith will be particularly busy at the national titles at Lake Albert in Victoria.
Narromine Little As member Harding will take part in the 100m, 200m, and long jump at nationals while Blacksmith will line up in the 100m, 200m, long jump, and shotput.
“It’s very exciting and these kids have put a lot of work in. Especially in the last two or three months,” Chatfield said of the group.
“Most of these kids are training twice a week … it’s very impressive. They’re good kids and are keen to learn so I’m very proud to be their coach.”
This marks the second year Xanthie Chatfield will compete at nationals but the first time she’s going for multiple events.
“She was lucky enough to get a second in shotput (last year) so she’s carrying that form in but she’s gone one better this year and qualified for discus too and she really wanted that,” her father and coach said.
“To go away for two events, not only one, I think it means more for her and she was a lot more excited this time.
“I’m super proud.”
The fact his athletes have performed so well in numerous events is something particularly satisfying for Chatfield as he works to have all the youngsters train in various disciplines to avoid specialising them too early.
The national titles run from November 23-27.