A large gathering of sponsors, supporters, coaches and athletes
attended the official launch of the 2014 Hunter Track Classic at Hunter
Sports Centre in Glendale on Tuesday.
There is already much anticipation and excitement for the fifth
edition of the Hunter Track Classic which is undoubtedly the showcase
track and field event for the Hunter Region, and one of the stand-out
annual athletics meets in Australia. The event will take place on Friday
17th and Saturday 18th January 2014 and forms an important part of
Athletics Australia’s National Athletics Series.
Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter are still on a high after
successfully hosting the first ever Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games
last week, with the Athletics program held at the Hunter Sports Centre.
As a proud sporting region, the people of the Hunter delight in making
visiting sportspeople and supporters feel welcome. This was evident
throughout the Games, and each year the Hunter Track Classic is no
different. The Hunter Track Classic is widely regarded within the elite
Athletics community as being the most popular meet of the domestic
season. Part of the reason for this has been the innovative approach
adopted by the organisers who are constantly looking to make the program
exciting for athletes and fans.
Speaking at the launch, Athletics NSW Managing Director and CEO Greg Meagher
announced the inclusion of a new Friday night format at the upcoming
Hunter Track Classic (Friday 17th January). This will include three new
feature events; the Newcastle Gift 120m Pro Race, Twilight 2 Miler
Community Fun Run and Hunter’s Fastest Kid. The Newcastle Gift will be
held under lights on Newcastle’s No.1 Sports Ground and is set to
feature some of the fastest athletes in the land including 2013 Stawell
Gift Finalist Tim Eschebach from Thornton. Previous winner of the Stawell Gift, Mitchell Williams-Swain from Brisbane, has also shown early interest.
Headlining the Twilight 2 Miler is event patron and Olympic 5000m Silver Medalist, Sonia O’Sullivan who previously held the World Record for the two-mile distance.
These new events will set the scene for the main event at Hunter
Sports Centre on Saturday 18th January. Added to the program for the
first time will be the Pole Vault set to be contested by some of
Australia’s best Decathletes including Penrith’s ‘Mr Versatile’ Jake Stein and five-time NSW Decathlon Champion, Matt Harris
from Maitland, both who attended Tuesday’s launch. The two will battle
it out across two other events as part of a customised three-pronged
“I’m really looking forward to having a hit out at next year’s Hunter
Track Classic and hopefully setting up a platform for a big year in
2014,” said 19 year old Stein who won the Silver Medal at the 2012 World
Fellow multi-sport star Sophie Stanwell of Georgetown
(Newcastle), a product of the Hunter, is set to continue the great form
she showed in 2013 where she represented Australia at the World
University Games in Kazan, Russia and set personal bests in each of the
seven disciplines in her chosen event of heptathlon.
Speaking at the launch, Stanwell commented, “It’s been a great year.
Representing Australia at the Uni Games was amazing. I’m really looking
forward to the Hunter Track Classic where I will aim to repeat the win
in the 200m, and then look forward to Nationals and hopefully the
Glasgow Commonwealth Games.”
Also representing Australia at the recent World University Games was
the young dominant force in Australian short sprints and hurdles, Nick Hough.
The 20-year-old claimed the Silver Medal in 110m Hurdles at the 2012
World Junior Championships in Barcelona and was selected to represent
Australia in the 4x100m relay at the recent IAAF World Championships in
Moscow. Hough won the 110m hurdles and 200m at the 2013 Hunter Track
Classic. He will attempt the same double in January 2014 as he launches
his campaign to secure his place on the Australian Commonwealth Games
team as an individual and relay athlete.
“The Uni Games and World Champs experiences were amazing and I’m
definitely hungry for more big international championship experience,”
Hough said. “The Hunter Track Classic is a great meet to
see where you’re at early in the season. I’m targeting the 110m Hurdles
but hopefully I can get up in both it and the 200m once again in 2014.”
Speaking at the launch representing Major Event Sponsoring Partner,
The Greater Building Society, Josh Sweatnan reaffirmed the Greater’s
support for The Hunter Track Classic and his excitement for the 2014
NBN News will again be the Major Media Partner for the event and NBN
Sports Journalist Michael Cain was invited to speak at the launch. Cain
reinforced the importance of the Hunter Track Classic for the
development of athletics in the Hunter Region, and referred to the event
as the equivalent of “Surfest for Athletics”.
Hunter Track Classic Creator and Organiser, elite marathoner Scott
Westcott, is looking forward to January and is already quietly confident
of 2014 being the best edition of the event’s short history.
“With a new format of events on the Friday night, and a mix of
exciting young prospects plus established big names of the sport such as
Dani Samuels and Sonia O’Sullivan, it’s going to be a huge celebration
of track and field in the Hunter,” Westcott said.
Source: Athletics NSW