One of the highlights of the junior athletics programme was held last weekend in Palmerston North with Western Bay athletes performing with distinction against the best of the rest from New Zealand.
The 38th annual North Island Colgate Games and the South Island version on this weekend double as the national junior athletics championship for children aged 7 to 14. More than 2000 entrants are taking part with 50 athletes from the Bay of Plenty region competing at the North Island Games.
There were several outstanding individual performances from Western Bay of Plenty athletes.
Flynn Murdoch, 13, from Athletics Tauranga won four medals, with gold in the Boys Long Jump Grade 1, a silver in the 100m and bronze medals in the 200m and 800m. Andre Gundersen, 10, from Greerton Amateur Athletics Club won two gold medals in the Grade 10 Boys discus and shot put, and a bronze medal in the high jump. The Bellevue Athletic Club team of Abigail Griffiths, 12, Georgia Browne, 13, Bianca Pearce, 13, and Kayli Tuiraviravi, 13, won gold in the Girls 4x100m Relay Grade 13, while Taylor Smith, 13, from Athletics Tauranga also took home a gold medal from the Boys 400m Sprint Grade 13.
The 2016 Colgate Games ambassador and New Zealand champion 1500m runner Julian Matthews says it was grounding to see the kids competing at such an intense level.
Matthews, who is aiming for the Olympics in 2016 after competing in the 2015 IAFF World Championships and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, says it brought back fond memories of his own time competing at the games.
"I was impressed by the amazing level of talent and dedication and I'm sure there were some future stars in the making."
Three athletes from both Bellevue and Athletics Tauranga will participate in the South Island Colgate Games at the Saxton Oval, Nelson this weekend.
-North Island Games
Athletics Tauranga 6 competitors, Bellevue Athletic Club 12, Greerton Amateur Athletics Club 16, Lake City Athletic Club 6, Omokoroa 4, Papamoa AAC 1, Te Puke Athletic Club 3, Waihi Amateur Athletic Club 2
Bronze Girls Shot Put Grade 13, Zharna Beattie
Bronze Girls Discus Grade 13, Zharna Beattie
Silver Boys Discus Grade 10, Zaine Murdoch
Bronze Boys 100m Grade 13, Flynn Murdoch
Bronze Boys 200m Grade 13, Flynn Murdoch
Silver Boys 800m Grade 13, Flynn Murdoch
Gold Boys Long Jump Grade 13, Flynn Murdoch
Gold Boys 400m Grade 13, Taylor Smith
Silver Boys 80m Hurdles Grade 13, Taylor Smith
Bronze Boys Discus Grade 14, Samuel Macredie
Silver Girls 800m Grade 10, Luke Clinton
Greerton Amateur Athletics Club
Silver Olivia Hala 10, Boys High Jump Grade 10
Bronze Andre Gundersen 10, Boys Shot Put Grade 10
Gold Andre Gundersen 10, Boys Discus Grade 10
Gold Andre Gundersen 10, Girls Long Jump Grade 11
Bellevue Athletic Club
Silver Zoe Wilson 11 , Girls 100m Grade 12
Bronze Abigail Griffiths 12, Girls 4x100m Relay Grade 13
Gold Abigail Griffiths, 12, Georgia Browne, 13, Bianca Pearce, 13, and Kayli Tuiraviravi, 13.