The International Track & Field Trust today announced that the charity luncheon on February 21st, preceding the International Track Meet at Christ’s College the next day, will be headlined by guest speaker and Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ulmer.
Ulmer will be joined by Athletics New Zealand’s High Performance Director Scott Goodman, and will discuss the development of tomorrow’s champions, something the Trust are very proud to be assisting with through the range of events held at New Zealand’s premier international track and field meeting. The luncheon will be hosted at the Mashina Lounge in the Christchurch Casino, from 12.30pm on Friday 21st Feb.
The International Track Meet returns to its successful venue of the last two years, the Upper Field at Christ’s College, on February 22nd, the third anniversary of the earthquake which devastated parts of Christchurch. But just as the rebuild of the city and new developments at the College go up around them, the current and future champions of New Zealand athletics will take another step in their own development.
Athletes like Tom Walsh and Angie Smit – two very different athletes, but with a lot in common – are great examples of the meet’s development pathway plans coming to fruition. Both competed as promising 16-17 year olds in the early meets in 2009-2010 at QEII Stadium, against international competition. Now, both are established international athletes in their own right, competing at Diamond League level in Europe last year, and are the headline acts at the International Track Meet back on home turf. Smit represented New Zealand in the 800m at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, and Walsh has qualified to do the same in the shot put at the World Indoor Championships in Poland next month, after breaking the national record twice in December. Both are also expected to put in strong performances at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games later this year.
These athletes have become the idols who today’s youngsters aspire to follow. Youngsters like 17-year-old Sean Eustace of Christchurch – Sean first competed at the International Track Meet in 2009, running the children’s 4x100m relay for his Christchurch Avon club as a 12-year-old. He competed in the same event in 2010, then graduated to the secondary schools relays at Christ’s College in 2012. In 2013 he ran the Open Mile Handicap event, the key development level race that year, and hopes to complete the full development pathway by stepping up to the elite middle distance events in the next few years.
Event Director and Trustee Paul Coughlan said today “All these athletes are a perfect example of what we’re trying to achieve with both the International Track Meet, and the charitable trust we’ve established to own and support it. As we have done with athletes like Tom and Angie, we look forward to Sean’s progress, and are excited to be a part of his story.”
You can support the development of the International Track & Field Trust by coming to the International Track Meet on February 22nd, the charity luncheon on the 21st, or by joining the Supporters Club. Ticket sales and further details are available on the website – internationaltrackmeet.co.nz