Two Southlanders denied top level competition

24 March, 2020

Some of the key figures who helped to arrange funding for the new track at Surrey Park, Invercargill, from left, Athletics Southland track and field chairman Phil Hartley, Community Trust South general manager Jackie Flutey, Invercargill Licensing Trust board member Paddy O’Brien and Athletics Southland president Chris Knight. The track was officially opened at the Southland Secondary Schools’ Athletics Championships in March this year. Photo: John Hawkins/Stuff

The cancellation of the Australian Junior Track and Field Championships has robbed two Southland athletes of the opportunity to compete against Australasia’s best.

Quinn Hartley, who is an Invercargill long, high and triple jumper, and Teagan​ Ashley, a Riverton hammer thrower, received the bad news on Friday. Athletics Australia cancelled the Sydney event because of the growing impact coronavirus was having in Australia.

The championships were to start on March 21.

Athletics Australia says on its website: “This decision is in line with [government and state’s] recommendation that non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people should not proceed.”

Hartley’s coach and Athletics Southland president Chris Knight was also travelling to the championships.

“It’s pretty disappointing, everything was booked,” Hartley said.

Hartley and Ashley competed at the Southland Secondary Schools Athletics Championships at Surrey Park, Invercargill, on Friday night and Saturday. They had success, with Hartley winning the under-16 boys high and long jumps and javelin.

Ashley won the senior girls’ hammer contest.

At the recent nationals in Christchurch, Hartley won gold in both the under-18 and under-20 long jump and bronze in the senior men’s high jump. Ashley got silver in the under-20 hammer.

Meanwhile, the official opening of Surrey Park’s new running track was on Saturday. Athletics Southland officials Chris Knight and Phil Hartley were joined at the ceremony by Community Trust South general manager Jackie Flutey​ and Invercargill Licensing Trust board member Paddy O’Brien who represented two of the five organisations which provided funding for the track and other improvements at the venue.

The other funders were Lotteries Commission, New Zealand Racing Board and The Southern Trust.

  • The Southland Times/Stuff