29 Jul 2015

Summer Calendar finalised

Summer Calendar finalised

Author: Comms Admin  /  Categories: News  / 

With the announcement of the 2015-16 domestic summer track and field calendar, Steve Landells chats to competitions and membership co-ordinator Gareth Archer about the competitive schedule leading into a stellar year of athletics highlighted by the Rio Olympic Games.

There has been much media attention focused on the clash of dates between the New Zealand Track and Field Championships and the Melbourne World Challenge meet. How do you assess the impact of the clash on New Zealand’s domestic flagship event?

GA: We had a strong indication that there would be no clash, but it didn’t turn out like that. We considered options for other dates, but realistically, the other options for national championships didn’t stack up and would have caused problems for many more people, so we are sticking with 4-6 March for the NZ Track and Field Championships.

We’d like to have more input on Australasia-wide planning, so that everyone is on the same page in future years. That might be the silver lining out of the clash. The reality is, we will still be holding a national championship with 600 of our top athletes. We have to be positive. Dunedin is a real student city and it is great shop window for those in tertiary education between the ages of 18 and 21 to support the event. They’ll be a big focus on Dunedin next summer because it will also be hosting the New Zealand Masters Championships and the NZ interprovincials. The people of Otago do a great organisational job, offer great support and the newly laid track will offer a great venue.

The Melbourne World Challenge takes place a couple of weeks earlier than usual. Have you been given any indication as to why they have opted for the March 5 date?

GA: Nothing definitive. I guess world indoors (held in Portland between March 17-20) may have had an impact. I’m guessing the World Challenge organisers may have been worried about losing their top drawcard athletes to that event. It will have been a combination of factors, including internal scheduling between the states.

Why do you feel the Mar 4-6 date was the best slot in the calendar for the New Zealand Track & Field Championships?

GA: A combination of factors. It works really nicely around the classic series and also the championships which take place in the different centres and the many secondary schools events in March. After this date there is the opportunity for the top New Zealand athletes to travel over to Australia for their championships, so it is a good fit. I know the weather in Wellington last year was a bad example, but generally the weather is also good in New Zealand at the beginning of March.

What are your overall thoughts on the 2014-15 summer calendar?

GA: We have had excellent co-ordination between the different meets and we are excited about staging the second Auckland Track Challenge. Considering it was held at reasonably short notice earlier this year, it was a successful competition and we are looking forward to raising the meet to another level this year. It has been positive to put the meet in the calendar nice and early and we hope to release the schedule of events soon to help athletes and coaches. We see the Auckland Track Challenge as the next generation in athletics competitions, it offers a great 90-minute entertainment package that we hope can attract the casual sports fan back to Athletics.

We’ve also worked much more closely with officials and athletes regarding the Classic series, which is fantastic. We are looking to set up an online application for officials for the week-long series of three meets in the lower North Island in January as a way of officiating in all three meets, which could have the added value of officials being able to tie in a little holiday with their officiating duties! We believe we have offered a nice rounded calendar offering good opportunities for those who want to take them.

What lessons to you feel you have learned from the inaugural Auckland Track Challenge?

GA: The main one is being organised earlier for the event. The reality is we probably want to put more investment into the meet if we want to make it a success and we are talking to more funding partners in the hope of building a bigger budget around the event. We’ve got aspirations moving forward and it is important to keep the momentum going into the second year. We will be trying to fill all the event groups to the highest possible standard because this year we had a few gaps. We definitely want to see people to engage with the event and see the great opportunity the event can be.

As next year is an Olympic year, does this change your overall event strategy?

GA: The sport has one chance every four years to be in the spotlight, so the more we can do domestically in New Zealand to put on quality events the better. We are certainly ramping up the work we do around media in the sport and the promotion that we can do. For example, we are trying to be quite dynamic in the way we present the sport and the Auckland Track Challenge will certainly differ from your traditional athletics meet. It will be a short, punchy programme with the focus on events where New Zealand has top contenders.

2015 - 2016 Summer Calendar

4-6 Dec  NZ Secondary Schools T&F and Road Champs Timaru
12 Dec North Island T&F Champs Palmerston North
12 Dec South Island T&F Champs Dunedin
8-10 Jan North Island Colgate Games Palmerston North
9 Jan Lovelock Classic Timaru
14 Jan Jumps to Music Hawera
15-17 Jan South Island Colgate Games Nelson
16 Jan Potts Classic (NZ Junior 3000m Champs) Hastings
19 Jan Cooks Classic Wanganui
22 Jan Capital Classic (NZ Senior 3000m Champs) Wellington
23 Jan South Island Interprovincial Invercargill
30 Jan NZ 10,000m Champs Auckland
30 Jan North Island Interprovincial Hamilton
13 Feb Porritt Classic Hamilton
20-21 Feb NZ Combined Events Champs Wanganui
25 Feb Auckland Track Challenge Waitakere
27-29 Feb NZ Masters Athletics Track & Field Champs Dunedin
4-6 Mar NZ Track & Field Champs Dunedin
26-27 Mar NZ Grade 12-13 Interprovincials Dunedin
2-3 Apr North Island Secondary Schools Champs Auckland
2-3 Apr South Island Secondary Schools Champs


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