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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Southern Athletic Club (ASA) desperate for athletes

Southern Athletic Club (ASA) desperate for athletes

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More athletes needed down south

By Duane Schultz
Southern Messenger Times
September 11, 2012

SOUTHERN Athletics Club coach Jason Stevens says more needs to be done to provide a stepping stone from Little Athletics to senior racing as his stable battles to attract athletes.

His club, based at Reynella East College and the only senior club in the southern suburbs, has 10 registered members and is still five short of the minimum number needed to compete for points in the SA Athletics Intra-Club competition.

Athletes can still participate but their results are not recognised for the intra-club championships.

"There's a few Little Athletics clubs in the area with large numbers, there's just a problem getting them to move into senior (competition)," Stevens said. "We just need to try to get some more members from somewhere."

Last season 722 athletes were registered with senior clubs across the state while 1242 athletes were registered with Little Athletics centres in the southern metropolitan area.

Flinders Athletics Club, based at Flinders University, has 60 athletes while Hills-District, based in the southeastern suburbs, has 58.

Stevens blamed greater travel required to compete at senior level - SA has just one synthetic track, Santos Stadium, at Mile End - as well as a perception that senior athletics in SA was only for the elite for the lack of numbers at his club.

"There is not a flow-on effect in participation rates," he said. "The main thing is the travel ... with the Little Athletics centres, most are quite large and they've got a couple hundred athletes and it's just convincing the parents to make that move (to seniors).

"One of the problems is people are happy to do fun runs but see track and field as an elite thing and think they might not be good enough."

Athletics SA chief executive Adam Bishop said numbers were steady in senior ranks but more needed to be done to grow the sport.

He said introducing a "dual-membership discount" where athletes at the transition age, generally 13 and older, can register with both a Little Athletics Club and senior club.

"Membership is heading back in the right direction ...

"We had a bit of drop-off while the track upgrade (2010) was taking place but this season numbers are looking good," he said.

To join Southern Athletics Club, phone 0413 744 513

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