Illawarra Track Challenge brings Top Praise

The Illawarra Track Challenge is proving to be one of the best meets of track and field in the state and the performances all around are exceeding expectations. What a day/night of track and field.

It was not only the performances of the athletes but also our own officials who worked in so well with Athletics NSW that helped produce a quality championship meet.

Opening the evening was Commonwealth Games silver medallist in the hammer, Alex Hulley. Alex showed why she is world class with a magnificent display of throwing. The Sutherland athlete had full control of the event, and was a clear winner by 10 metres in a quality field with a throw of 61.57m.

Abbie Taddeo was impressive in her win of the Kings Track and Field 60 metres Championship and was not going to be denied the win after missing last year’s event due to Athletics Australia commitments. In a time of the 7.34 she showed her blistering speed out of the blocks and held on to win. Training partner and another local product Stephanie Power just edged out Maisie Stevens, Power in 7.56 and Stephens in 7.57. Five divisions were run in the Women’s Championship event, and locals were well up in the title events. Blue Stars Emma Matthews recorded the fastest time of the Clubs female athlete and pocketed a small cheque to celebrate the clubs 65th season of track and field. Her third place in the Women’s 60metres Under 18 in a time of 7.84 is an impressive run by a 15 year old athlete

The men were not going to be outdone and what a race this turned out to be. Competing for the Kirrawee Prestige Smash Repairs 60 metres Championship title, defending champion Anas Abu-Ganaba had to run a quick time of 6.72 to nudge out his team mate from Campbelltown Ismail Dudu Kamara with Kenneth Vvong Asics West taking out third in a time of 6.90. The event presented some great competition and times over this short popular distance with 8 sections being conducted. Fastest IBS Athlete Kyle Grubnic ran an impressive 7.02 to just beat club mate Lachlan Parry (7.09) Impressive for IBS was newcomer to the club, Corey Williams, who ran 7.25 to take third in the under 20 Men’s title. He also performed well in supporting event, the long jump. Unlucky athlete was IBS Jonty Faulkner who was placed in a slower heat and was not pushed at all to win his round but time not good enough to take a placing. In a faster heat Faulkner may have been in the mix with the Under 18 men.

Once again the Bing Lee Mile for both men and women was a highlight and running under the lights in perfect conditions the young athletes dominated. In the women a brilliant run by 17 year old up and coming distance athlete Jayla Cameron-Hancock finishing in a great time of 4min 41.95 to defeat Universities Georgia Winkcup (4min 48.47) and another young athlete Lauren Carey from St George club taking out bronze. Winkcup tried to bridge the gap created by Hancock but admitted the gap was too much and she felt she left her run too late. It was an impressive run by the winner and one that will be noted by Athletic Australia as a future distance runner.

The Men’s mile was a little more tactical and a cat and mouse game developed throughout the race. It was not until the final straight that Run Crew member Jackson Sharp took control to cross the line in 4min 11.02 from Randwick Botany’s Sam Byrne (4min 12.16) and Nathan Breen from St George in 4min 21.69.

Supporting events were also of a high standard and the performance of 400metres athlete and gold medallist at the World Youth Games Bendere Oboya in an impressive 53.45 establishes her among the best 400m athletes in Australia. She defeated local athlete Sarah Carli who is showing great improvement over the flat 400m, an indication her 400 hurdles will be just as impressive. The Men’s 400m was a quick one also with Jordan Sarmento stopping the clock in an impressive 47.42 from Damien Mizzi in 48.86 an Rohen Laurendet in 49.72


The Sponsors of the meet are to be thanked for their wonderful contribution to this meet. Kings Track and Field for the Women’s 60metres, Kirrawee Prestige Smash Repairs for the Men’s 60metres and Bing Lee Warilla for the Women’s and Men’s mile. Some wonderful items were also thrown into the crowd with soccer balls and stress balls courtesy of Bing Lee and packages donated by Kirrawee Prestige Smash Repairs.

Thanks to Jodie Sundstrom for making up officials care packages, a gesture that is carried out by our club and one that is really appreciated by the hard working officials, many travelling from outside the area to help us out.


In the background and making a rare appearance at a major meet, Blue Stars Masters athlete Gianna Mogentale stopped the clock at a good time of 8.69 to break the NSW Record, wind reading looking good for her to claim yet another state record. It was a sign that this talented master’s sprinter is on the way back. Our masters performed well and along with Gianna and Dianne O’Toole taking gold, Sara Guevara and Rina Flynn Silver in their respective age brackets. What a day/evening! This event is certainly going to be back on the calendar for season 2020.


Female sprinter Emma Matthews and open male sprinter Kyle Grubnic both pocked a nice little cheque to the value of $65 in recognition of the clubs 65th season of track and field and both athletes recording the fastest time over 60metres for Blue Stars athletes. Well done Kyle and Emma.


Great to have one of the best female athletes ever present at our meet, Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, who travelled from Sydney with her daughter who took part successfully. Melinda stated how well the meet went and also the track & grounds impressed her so much. Welcome to the Gong again Mel, it’s been a long time.


Thanks must go the staff of Beaton Park who worked in so well with us to produce this meet. Jason delivered on all his promises and staff carried out the work perfectly. One little glitch again with the microphone but we believe that this is being looked into again as it is not the best system to have for such a meet. Special thanks to the staff who supported us all the way.

Our special thanks also go to Wollongong City Little A’s for the use of a lot of their equipment, and to Athletics Wollongong for manning the Pole Vault and also Arda Van Bockel for being our first aid lady