The past twelve months have witnessed major changes for Athletics NZ. We speak to five key members of staff who talk about their personal highlights of 2013.
Scott Newman - CEO
“After nearly 100 years, the shift of the national office out of Wellington to Auckland and Christchurch will probably be the single operational element from 2013 that will live forever in the written milestones of our sport. It has taken much of the year to both embed the shift and implement the change in staffing structure that was made at the end of last year. The opportunity to be closer to the majority for our members and to align the operational structure more closely to the needs of the membership were the fundamental drivers for the shift. For the first time we now have specific in-house club development. Meanwhile, development resources for officials and far better positioned as an organisation to provide a “customer” focused tangible value service. The introduction of the new member management system (database) this year has given us the tool to help enact this.
The year ahead is not without challenge. There are an enormous amount of things we wish to achieve to fully implement the new structure and services. All of this has to be done on the limited resource we have available. Perhaps the most wide ranging impact this year will be through the review of the Association Levy, the fee that all registered members pay. This has always been a tough one to crack and has historically created wide debate and plenty of questions. The review is due for completion in September and the working group will be around the country canvassing the centres and clubs for their views over the next nine months.”
Michael Sharapoff – Community Sport Manager
“Building on from the activities that Scott Newman mentioned, 2013 has been a massive year internally for Athletics New Zealand. The establishment of the Community Sport team had been a personal goal of mine since 2010, increasing the capability within this space should allow Athletics New Zealand to increase its relevance to our Athletics participants across the country. While we still have a lot of work to do, it has been encouraging to get the buy in from the Athletics NZ Board and Sport New Zealand.
My personal highlight for 2013 was seeing my first sub-10 second 100m race. I had the privilege of buying tickets to some sessions for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow during a backpacking trip. Seeing our High Performance team at work in a 'pure performance' environment made me start thinking that maybe their yearly European trips away may not be a holiday!”
Scott Goodman – High Performance Director
“Sharing a room with Jean-Pierre Egger (J-P) at the 2013 Moscow World Championships and witnessing first-hand the qualities of J-P, Lou Johnson (physio) and Valerie to prepare and perform at a major championships. Then, after the event, to witness the emotion and bond between those that are involved with her campaign on a daily basis year in and year out.
Hearing the New Zealand National Anthem at a major championships during Valerie's medal ceremony and feeling great pride (and almost tearing up) and then thinking I really must learn the words ... (It's a Tasmanian thing).
Watching the Robertson brothers compete at the 2013 World Championships and knowing that we are supporting them in our small way on their remarkable journey to try and achieve their ambition of being the greatest New Zealand distance runners of all time.
Witnessing Angie Smit's enthusiasm and excitement to be competing at the World Championships and the intensity with which she competed. Then, on her way to the farewell party/gathering, stating that she hoped to get some pictures for Facebook of her with some Olympic stars/medallists (She was sitting beside Norwegian two-time Olympic javelin champion, Andreas Thorkildsen, who was chatting to Stuart Farquhar at the time ~ (so as not to embarrass her or Andreas we didn't tell her until the next day).
Observing Tom Walsh's consistent development from an extremely talented junior thrower to his current position on the cusp of mixing it with the world's best over the next 10-15 years.”
Carl Jackson – Commercial and Marketing Manager
“My last 12 months working for Athletics New Zealand has been both rewarding experience and a real eye opener. Having been an athlete in the club system, and an avid follower since my competitive days ended, being able to put back into sport has been thoroughly fulfilling. I have particularly enjoyed working on the 50th Lion Foundation Rotorua Marathon, and the event is in good shape for next May as we celebrate an iconic race on the event calendar. Doubling as the New Zealand Marathon Championships will give the event an extra edge at the front of the race.
I have been excited by the talent coming through the ranks, and it is very pleasing to see new athletes qualify for major events like shot putter Tomas Walsh and middle-distance runner Angie Smit – these athletes are the future of our sport. Sometimes we don't realise how hard it is to succeed in a true global sport like athletics and we are very fortunate to have fantastic role models like Valerie Adams and Nick Willis to act as heroes to the next generation.”
Brett Addison – Communications and Membership Member
“Athletics New Zealand’s new Website and Membership Management system have been the highlights of the year for me. The process of provider selection and planning took several years, but we are now seeing the benefits of the new systems.
Athletics NZ and clubs are in a better position to communicate directly with our members and we have a fresh new online look. We are also taking the opportunity to lift our game in how we distribute news about the sport with our growing fan-base.
From a performance perspective, it's been great to see athletes like Valerie Adams, Nick Willis, Angie Smit, Jake & Zane Robertson, Sarah Cowley and Brent Newdick who I have taken away to World Junior and Youth champs and other events develop from talented youngsters to world class athletes.”