The "Fastest Kid on the Block" has become a vibrant feature of the annual Cooks Gardens Classic and the 2020 edition is no exception.

Thirty six young athletes, who qualified in a series of elimination events in December, will line up in six heats for boys and girls in three grades – Under 9, Under 11 and Under 14.

The concept of running qualifying events in the wider Whanganui region's parks was started almost two decades ago, but has been brought to a new and exciting level over the past three years by the leadership of Jodie Brunger and her team.

The qualifying areas were Whanganui East, Aramoho, Rangitikei, Western, Springvale, Castlecliff, Taumaranui and Ruapehu, and the young athletes will wear their district colours with pride.

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This well-supported event is the envy of other regions and gives a meaningful experience to our younger athletes by being able to compete at the same meeting as New Zealand's senior athletes.

There has been considerable growth in the children's section of the Athletics Whanganui Club.

At the recent North Island version of Colgate Games in Taranaki's Inglewood, Whanganui was successfully represented by seven athletes, the largest group in recent years.

Five of them – Amber Auret, Ella Auret, Kailahi Blake, Wairangi Potaka Osborne Milner-Skudder, and Te Atakoura Potaka Osborne Milner-Skudder – will be back in action on Saturday, having qualified for the Fastest Kid finals.

The other finalists will have had a taste of the sport and will hopefully take advantage of what the Whanganui club has to offer and compete in Ribbon Events and future Colgate Games.

The theme of development continues Sunday when leading high jump coach Ed Fern takes a jumps session for coaches, parents, teachers and young athletes at Cooks Gardens at 10am through to 1pm.

Those interested should contact Jodie Brunger at Sport Whanganui.

The Cooks Classic starts at 7pm, with the Bayleys "Fastest kid on the Block" races taking place at 7.55pm.

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Entry is by donation rather than a gate charge and it is hoped parents and supporters will appreciate this and be generous in their support.

The "Fastest Kid on the Block" is sponsored and supported by Bayleys, Cookietime, The Splash Centre, Sports Whanganui and Mount View Screen-prints.

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Brian Wilson, Ella Auret, Amber Auret, Te Ata Kura Potaka Osborne Milner-Skudder, and Wairangi Potaka Osborne Milner-Skudder at the Colgate Games.
Brian Wilson, Ella Auret, Amber Auret, Te Ata Kura Potaka Osborne Milner-Skudder, and Wairangi Potaka Osborne Milner-Skudder at the Colgate Games.

The Athletics Whanganui contingent had some good success at the North Island Colgate Games, held from last Friday to Sunday at Inglewood's Jubilee Park.

Kailahi Blake won both the 60m and 100m events for his age group, while the Milner-Skudder children got third places in their running events.

Te Atakura Potaka Osborne made the podium in the 200m, while Wairangi Potaka Osborne did the same in the 60m.

Amber Auret was third in the 400m, and just missed the podium with fourth in the 200m, while Ella Auret was also fourth in her 200m.

They also all competed in other events, as did Brian Wilson on the 100m and discus.