Four hours of noise, action and sun !
Our original booking of the track and stadium facilities was made in January and was for Friday, Sept. 29th. morning (Heats) followed by Saturday, September 30th. morning (Finals). Unfortunately, an ineffective booking system resulted in the loss of these bookings and resultant possible clashes with other organisations. By urgent negotiation on Monday and Tuesday this week, we managed to fix the first day. Also, to avoid any possible last-minute cancellation by the Ministry of Education (which happened in advance of the Secondary meeting in July), the start time was put back three hours. This meant we had to work through the hottest part of the day ! The eight teams which participated were well-supplied with drinks, and with one short break we managed to complete the Heats programme in less than three hours (28 races). Considering the inexperience of the athletes, this was a considerable achievement !
...AND SO TO HEATS in the HEAT !
At 11.00 there was only one team present. By 11.30 (revised start time) the majority were there but then a flustered man arrived with the news that the furthest-flung school had suffered a break-down of its truck - could we wait ? About 12.00 we had the first of the Junior Girls 60m. Heats lined up and waiting. The missing group arrived - their competitor ran across to us (that was her warm-up !) and we started.
Lane discipline is hard to teach but many of the young athletes had good discipline and awareness. There was some "crossing-over" but no serious incidents requiring long jury-meetings ! Thus the 6 Heats of the J 60m. and 6 Heats of the S 100m. were completed.
While these were running, I (starter) thought hard about how to run the rest most fairly. I concluded that, since there would be a maximum of six runners in any race, we could start them all off from a curved line and all cut for Lane 1. The time-keepers agreed that this would be OK for them. In practice, Sod's Law being what it is, a number of athletes stayed wide during the 150m. and 300m. races !!!
A brief shower of rain (from a blue sky !) barely affected anything - except to cool us a little. And so to the final events, the Heats of the Senior 4 x 100m. Relays. With the odd collision (with their own team-mate !), these passed off with no dramas, some fast running, and exciting races. The Primary Schools' staff said "Is that it ?" - being used to such meetings dragging on all day. We finished by 3.00 p.m.
All in all, it had been very noisy (the nature of an excited crowd of Primary children), very colourful - purple, pink, maroon, shades of green and shades of blue being the team colours, a little frustrating (through lack of understanding of commands), but mostly stimulating to see such a show of talent and potential competing fairly against each other.
Our plans had had to be changed to accommodate a Saturday clash. As it worked out, this was quite good from several points of view. For me, I have time to check results, work out finallists and publish them to the schools in advance of the Finals. For the schools, they have time to recover, to do some more training and practice (of Long Jump, Shot and Relay), and to be thoroughly organised by Finals Day. The other consolation for us was that it rained heavily from about 10.00 am on Saturday - but not on us !!
Below you will find the main qualifying results from Friday. Finals Day is Saturday, October 7th. starting at 08.00.
MAIN RESULTS. (Fastest qualifiers.)
JG 60m. JB 60m.
01. Makurita. (Taakenibairiki) 9.8 secs. 01. Moaniwae. (Taakenibairiki) 9.2 secs.
02. Mumaro. (Taakenibairiki) 10.1 02. Teraoi. (Tebanimaneka) 9.4
SG 100m. SB 100m.
01. Geraldine. (Dai Nippon) 16.0 01. Nauaati. (Temanoku) 14.2
02. Kaare. (Tebanimaneka) 16.3 02. Temaiana. (Dai Nippon) 14.6
JG 150m. JB 150m.
01. Katiia. (Temanoku) 29.2 01. Nakitonga. (Rurubao) 25.3
02. Tiirenga. (Dai Nippon) 29.3 02. Tetoaiti. (Tabontemaneaba) 26.3
SG 300m. SB 300m.
01. Maata. (Temanoku) 58.5 01. Amote. (Tabontemaneaba) 52.7
02. Taari. (Tabontemaneaba) 58.6 02. Kaitu. (Abaunamou) 53.0
SG 4 x 100m. Relay. SB 4 x 100m. Relay.
01. Taakenibairiki. 1-08.3 01. Tebanimaneka. 1-00.9
02. Dai Nippon. 1-08.7 02. Abaunamou. 1-01.3
We look forward to a dry day and better crowd-control !