Athletics world mourns loss of top coach

By David Skipwith

Joe McManemin, right, wheels hockey player Trevor Manning from Auckland International Airport, after he won the gold medal at the 1976 Olympics while playing with a smashed kneecap. File photo / NZ Herald
Joe McManemin, right, wheels hockey player Trevor Manning from Auckland International Airport, after he won the gold medal at the 1976 Olympics while playing with a smashed kneecap. File photo / NZ Herald

New Zealand's athletics community is mourning the loss of highly respected administrator and coach, Joe McManemin, who passed away yesterday.

McManemin, 91, was the chief architect of Auckland's successful bid for the 1990 Commonwealth Games, and a past president and life member of both Athletics New Zealand and Athletics Auckland.

A former sprinter, he coached fine speedsters of the 1950s and 60s such as Doreen Porter, Val Morgan and Maurie Rae.

The former Mt Roskill pharmaceutical chemist was general manager of the New Zealand team to the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games and Chef de Mission to the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

He was athletic section manager to the 1960 Rome Olympic Games and was closely involved in the triumphs of Peter Snell, Murray Halberg and Barry Magee.

McManemin was also a member of the organising committee for the 1950 Auckland Empire Games and the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games.

He was made a commander of the order of the British Empire in the 1974 Queen's Birthday honours and received the Queen's Service Order in the 1990 New Year honours, while in 1986 he was appointed grand master of New Zealand's Freemasons.

McManemin was known for keeping his little black bag full of all sorts of medicinal odds and ends close at hand, and always assisted with medical support at athletic meetings and pushed for the inclusion of qualified medical support people to accompany our games teams.

His medical knowledge proved invaluable in Rome, keeping the 1960 team free of dysentery, after the New Zealanders battled illness in Cardiff in 1958.

On another occasion, driving home after a meeting one night in 1972, he came across a motor accident and was quickly on the spot doing all he could for the victims while they awaited the arrival of an ambulance.

- NZ Herald

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