Junior athletes tear around Saxton Field


The gun sounded and he was off: local boy Ben Walker cleaned up the competition at his first Colgate Games.

Nelson hosted this year’s Colgate Games and the 39 Athletics Nelson entrants made the most of their home turf advantage.

First timer Ben Walker claimed a gold in the grade 11 boys 4×100 metre relay, a silver in the grade 10 boys long jump and a bronze in the grade 10 boys high jump with a personal best of 1.26 metres.

Ben also got a personal best in the long jump, leaping to a massive 4.33 metres, almost three times his own height.

Ben says stepping up to a national level is a bit of a challenge but that was his favourite part.

“I get to compete against other people from other parts of New Zealand and I get to see how I compare to them.”

Athletics Nelson’s Sophie Wemyss and Sam Newson also medalled, Sophie received a bronze for her 1600 metre race walk, and Sam took home a bronze for his long jump and a gold for the 4×100 metre relay with Ben.

Athletics Nelson’s Team Manager Nicola Newson says that, for many of the athletes – like Ben, this was their first time competing nationally, and clubs from Kerikeri to Invercargill traveled to Nelson for the games.

“The kids loved taking part in such a big event, it’s up at that next level and they get to compete with so many different athletes from so many different clubs .”

“I’m so proud of them all, a lot of the athletes had never competed at the Colgate Games or at that level before.”

One of the organisers, Jason Stack, says they’ve had nothing but great feedback from all the competitors.

“Throughout all the clubs, there were a lot of outstanding performances and personal bests and everyone enjoyed coming to Nelson for the three day meet, a lot of families are even staying on for a holiday,” he says.