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PROTRACK » GENERAL » SA Athletic Clubs Port Adelaide & Elizabeth in danger of losing ASA affiliation

SA Athletic Clubs Port Adelaide & Elizabeth in danger of losing ASA affiliation

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SPORT: L-R Training partner Brett Fisk with Port Adelaide
Athletic Club sprinter Lyall Weir.

Port Athletics Club numbers dwindling

by Tim Williams
Portside Messenger
8 Nov 2011

PORT Adelaide Athletic Club is at risk of losing its affiliation with Athletics SA due to a lack of competing members and is calling for new blood.

Port has no more than eight athletes set to compete at Santos Stadium this summer, down from 17 in 2009/10, and well short of Athletics SA’s (ASA) minimum of 30 needed for the club to vie for league points.

ASA has given Port and other struggling clubs a maximum of two years to reach 15 competing members - meaning financial members with ASA who compete at Santos Stadium - or risk losing affiliation with the association.

Port’s athletes would then have to join other clubs or register as individual athletes.

Port sprinter and regular competitor Lyall Weir, a Bay Sheffield semi-finalist in 2007, said the club’s competitive numbers were so low that sometimes he was left to train by himself.

To read the full story see the following link and go to pages 8 & 9.

Last edited by Admin on Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:18 pm; edited 1 time in total



TOUGH TIMES: ELizabeth Athletics club members
Alix Harlington, 11, Rihana Hooker, 11, and Megan
Szirom with club vice-president Darren Bown.

Elizabeth Athletics Club in danger of folding

by John Stokes
News Review Messenger
9 Nov 2011

AN AGEING track and clubrooms, the lure of other sports and a low profile have left Elizabeth Athletics Club in danger of folding.

The club has just nine registered members this season and must increase its membership three-fold by next year or lose its Athletics SA (ASA) affiliation rights.

“At the moment, as a club, we are on our knees,” club vice-president Darren Bown, 37, said.

“We don’t get a lot of support from a lot of different areas and it’s hard to get the people in the club to be motivated enough to try to do the hard work to bring in more members and lift the numbers up.”

Mr Bown said the club’s Mofflin Reserve track, formerly the fastest grass track in the state, had become run down and junior athletes were being drawn to other sports and clubs.

If the club loses its ASA affiliation, athletes will be forced to join other clubs or compete as individuals.

Mr Bown is a former national representative in race walking and has been involved with the club since 1992.

“I would be devastated. I only ever wanted to compete for Elizabeth,” he said.

He urged Playford Council, Athletics SA and schools to work with the club to promote athletics in the region and develop a plan to attract members.

Mr Bown said the club was inclusive and people from all backgrounds and levels of experience were welcome.

“Athletics is a foundation for all sports,” he said.

Athletics SA chief executive Adam Bishop said the association had a number of struggling clubs and it was difficult to support them.

“We want to see them continue, but by virtue of our lack of resources across the state we’re sort of powerless to help them,” Mr Bishop said.


Fo too long now, ASA clubs have been allowed to meander along without being accountable for their pathetic dwindling number of athletes. Some clubs are not clubs in the true sense - a handful of athletes with a coach and no genuine organisational structure does not constitute a club. Some clubs have hung on to the fact they've been allowed to exist (and that's all they do) for many years and believe they've got a right to be part of ASA.

Not any more.

Adam Bishop has recognised this as a major problem and has given clubs ample time to get their act together. They've been warned that unless they can generate sufficient members then they lose the right to be affiliated.

I share ASA's position in that I have little sympathy for clubs that exist in name only with a few athletes.

The clubs are the heart & soul of ASA. ASA needs vibrant, healthy clubs willing to work hard towards developing the sport. Just existing from year to year does nothing to help the prosperity of the sport. And it is the club's personnel who is responsible for developing the club, it is not the responsibility of ASA. ASA simply does not have the resources to get clubs out of their own self-inflicted malaise.

About 10 years ago, AA's Brian Rowe produced a document covering all aspects of mainstream (amateur) athletics following a lengthy and thorough investigation into the state of athletics in Australia.

In respect to clubs, Brian stressed the importance of having a set number of big strong clubs with many people involved, working for the club to develop a strong sense of community thriving on healthy income streams, rather than several small clubs that were run by a few on the smell of an oily rag.

Brian recommended as few as six clubs for SA. He could see that clubs were merely existing and there needed to be some significant changes to the culture in SA in respect to club structure for the sport to survive.

Unfortunately no-one in ASA at the time had the guts to introduce the initiatives recommended by Brian and we now have the problem where several clubs are struggling to the point of extinction.

Thanks to Adam Bishop's leadership, from what I understand, ASA clubs have two years to prove their long term viability. If clubs cannot generate sufficient athletes to constitute a club then they will cease to be affiliated.

It is no coincidence that the clubs that lack coaches loyal to the club are those that are struggling the most.

One of the contributing factors which was touched on by Brian in his report is the number of freelance coaches that contribute little to ASA clubs. Freelance coaches are a scourge to the future of the sport. They are detrimental to the club culture and cause a lot of the problems clubs have in the retention of athletes and trying to develop a loyalty whereby the athlete will want to contribute to the club.

Every coach that has athletes competing in ASA events should be affiliated to a club. I believe ASA needs to come up with some initiatives where coaches will be rewarded for being involved with a particular club.

Something like what the SAAL does - make athletes pay more as a self-trained athlete if the coach they are with is not interested in being affiliated to a club.

Ultimately there should be no more than eight ASA clubs. Every club should have one or more feeder Little A's clubs and have a strong connection to the Little A's clubs and schools in the area.

One thing ASA could do is introduce genuine club v club based competitions to encourage athletes to strive to want to represent their club and be proud of representing it. The current interclub graded competitions does little to engender club loyalty.

Will be interesting when the time runs out to see if ASA does go through with its decision to refuse to register clubs that fail to reach the targets.

"Let's Go While We're Young"


Your probably right youngy, probably too many clubs with no chance of having the numbers. Having said that TTG has been a strong club for many years and won many pennants. We now have only 13 athletes registered and could go the same way as Port and Elizabeth, although we are doing our best to get past members back. I wonder if it is all this working 6-7 days a week, parents with not enough time anymore, laziness, costs all adding up to sport losing out. Crying or Very sad

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