An athlete from the Paraparaumu Track and Field Club received a prestigious scholarship at the Colgate Games held in Inglewood this month.
Each year Colgate and Athletics New Zealand provide eight scholarships named after Colgate Games alumnus Nick Willis for athletes who display exceptional performance — four from the North Island games and four from the South Island.
Awarded for the first time in 2013, each scholarship is worth $500 and is intended to support junior athletes to buy gear, support additional coaching or to reach their athletics goals in other ways.
Joshua Lotsu, 14, was awarded a Nick Willis Scholarship, after impressing at the games.
"Joshua won both the 100m and 200m in the boys grade 14 in personal best times of 11.50 and 22.82 respectively," club captain Brian Seymour said.
"The 100m time was in his heat with a 1.1m head wind while his 200m final had a favourable 1.9m head wind.
"Unfortunately in the 100m final the head wind was 5m per second.
"He also finished second in the long jump ending a very successful campaign."
Seymour said Lotsu had "huge potential".
Lotsu, who goes to Kāpiti College, was grateful for the scholarship.
"I was happy to receive the scholarship but also very happy about the medals and the performances needed to win them.
"I've been to the Colgate Games but haven't really won before.
"My goal this time was to end the Colgate Games with gold for once."
Lotsu started athletics when he was 10.
"I was playing touch rugby and one of my best friend's mother said I should do athletics.
"So I went to a club night and it went from there."
He recalled his first Colgate Games. "I did terribly. I just wore normal running shoes. But I persevered and grew to like the sport."
In the last two years he has taken a "more serious approach".
He attends Monday night practice at Paraparaumu Domain with other club members but does more specialised training during the week under the watchful eye of Seymour.
Lotsu said his enjoyment came from seeing improvements in his performances as well as the comradeship and support from people around him.
Twenty-seven athletes from the club attended the games; nationally over 1000 athletes attended from 79 clubs.
The club won five gold, six silver and seven bronze medals in grade 10 upwards.
The under 10s were also very successful winning five firsts, eight seconds and eight thirds.
The relay teams also tasted success with grade 11 girls team winning the 4 x 100m relay running superbly in the final after being second fastest in the heats.
The grade eight girls team was also successful and the grade nine team finished in second place. The grade 11 medley relay team won bronze.
Seymour said a number of the athletes "performed outstandingly well", notably Lotsu, Daisy Goodman, Lucas Lambert, Kohurangi Murrow-Rewi and Luke Jarvis.
Seymour said Goodman had "an outstanding weekend winning the 11 girls 100m, second in the 200m and second in the long jump.
"Both sprints saw her record personal best times.
"She also placed fourth in the high jump and was a key member of the 11 girls 4 x 100m relay team that won gold plus the grade 11 medley relay team which won bronze.
"Daisy has shown huge improvement this season and has a bright future in the sport."
Lambert was a surprise packet in the 13 boys high jump, clearing 1m 63cm, only failing at the last height of 1m 66cm.
"He won on countback from two boys who had failed on their first attempts at the previous height.
"He also won bronze in the 80m hurdles.
Murrow-Rewi won silver in the 11 girls shot put, bronze in the discus and was a member of the 11 girls 4 x 100m relay team and the grade 11 medley relay team.
Jarvis won silver in the grade 12 boys 200m and bronze in the 100m, and made the final of the 80m hurdles finishing seventh.
"Luke is another who has made dramatic improvement this year and he too can look forward to further success."
Other medal winners were Boston Winiata in the grade 11 boys high jump, Joel Lambert bronze in the grade 12 boys 80m hurdles and Dominic Mettric silver in the 13 boys long jump.
The grade 11 4 x 100m relay team was Ella McGuigan, Amy Jarvis, Goodman and Murrow-Rewi.
The grade 11 medley team was Boston Winiata, Luca Steinmetz, Goodman, Jarvis and Murrow-Rewi.
Those who reached finals were:
Niamh Gedye, 4th grade 14 400m, 6th 100m, 5th long jump.
Amy Jarvis 7th grade 11 girls 200m, 6th 100m.
Rico Poutama 6th grade 12 boys high jump, 5th discus.
Boston Winiata 6th grade 11 boys discus.
Ella McGuigan 5th grade 10 girls 200m, 7th 100m.
Dominic Mettric 8th grade 13 boys 100m.
Grade 12 boys 4 x 100m relay team 4th place.
Blake Terry 1st 9 girls long jump, 2nd 200m, 3rd 100m.
Mia Thomson 1st 9 girls 200m, 2nd 60m, 2nd discus.
Phoebe Corin 2nd 9 girls shot put, 3rd discus.
Quin Steinmetz 1st 8 girls shot put, 1st discus, 2nd 200m.
Luke Schimanski 3rd 8 boys 100m, 3rd 60m, 4th long jump.
Marc Kronawitter 4th 8 boys 200m, 5th 100m.
Emily Corin 2nd 7 girls long jump, 2nd 60m, 3rd discus,4th 200m.
Grace Lotsu 3rd 200m.
Lucie Thomson 1st discus, 2nd 200m, 4th long jump.
8 mixed 4 x 100m relay team 1st Marc Kronawitter, Luke Schimanski, Lucy Mettric and Quin Steinmetz.
9 girls 4 x 100m relay team 2nd Emily Corin (7) Mia Thomson, Blake Terry and Phoebe Corin.
The under 10s gained five first placings, eight seconds and five thirds.