2018 OCEANIA MASTERS ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS – DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND – 20-27 January 2018
Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand turned on great weather and a warm welcome to the over 350 entrants for the 2018 OMA championships. Dunedin is a beautiful historic city with strong Scottish connections and there were many tourist attractions to visit when not competing. Entries were also received from a number of overseas countries, which added to the overall buzz and atmosphere.
Regional championships are now being held on ‘odd’ numbered years, but where held in January 2018 to take advantage of the best weather conditions and accommodation availability. The LOC headed by Joan Merrilees had done a marvellous job of arranging the program, facilities and all associated matters. The event was well supported by local government and sponsors. The dedicated and well qualified officials from New Zealand and Australia lead by John Phillips, Competition Director, kept the competition running smoothly over the seven days.
Performance levels of this championship were outstanding with one World Record and 64 new OMA championship records set, together with many New Zealand and Australian national and club records. The Clem Green Trophy for the highest age graded performance of 94.57% in the 1500m was awarded to Louisa Abram W55 of Australia for her time of 4:59.36.
Having a Call Room was a new experience for some athletes, but they soon adapted to this requirement and it will assist them if they compete in WMA championships in the future. Drug Testing was conducted for the first time at an OMA championship and will be a feature for future championships where facilities are available.
The Opening Ceremony treated the athletes to a rousing Bagpipe rendition by the Caledonian Society of Otago and a traditional welcome was performed by a group from a local high school. The Athletes Form with its topic of “Travelling as an Athlete”, presented by Raylene Bates, was most informative and will assist those who travel overseas for WMA competition.
The Athletes Dinner held at Toitu, the Early Settlers Museum, was a very relaxed and enjoyable occasion with the Piping of the Haggis and Scottish dancing entertaining the guests. The photo below shows the many roles that a WMA executive officer may have to fill when attending a regional championship.
The work of the LOC was acknowledged during the evening together with thanks to Stan Perkins whose term of office as WMA President finishes in Malaga in September and to Wilma Perkins who has retired from the OMA Council. Both have given many years of outstanding service to Masters athletics and the wider sporting community.
Assembly Annual General Meeting
The OMA Council met prior to the Assembly Annual General Meeting, held on the non-competition day. The next OMA championships were confirmed to be held at Mackay, North Queensland 31 August-7 September 2019, and the bid from Athletics Norfolk Island to host the 2021 OMA championships in January that year was accepted by Council.
Two new Council members were elected – Joan Merrilees New Zealand and Tim Rogers Norfolk Island and their knowledge of our sport will be much appreciated. Seven Honorary Life Memberships for outstanding service to the OMA Council were also awarded during the AGM: Ian Anderson Norfolk Island, Jim and Colleena Blair, Stan and Wilma Perkins, Jim and Helen Tobin.
The OMA Council thanks all who participated in making the 19th Oceania Masters Athletics Championships such a memorable event.
Lynne Schickert – President Oceania Masters Athletics Inc