The Annual General Meeting of Athletics NSW was conducted 2 days ago, it was a well attended, positive and open meeting.
On the night we appointed two new Directors to the Board of Athletics NSW, Anna Fitzgerald and Jonathan Fletcher. I would like to formally welcome them and I look forward to achieving great things alongside them in the future. Both Anna and Jonathan's profiles are available on our website here.
I would also like to thank Angela Haynes for her 4 years of service on the Board of Athletics NSW.
The AGM also made me think about what has been achieved over the past year.
Around 12 months ago I said that there would be positive change in our sport, and I think you would agree that this has indeed happened. The reform of our sport is continual but always based on the premise of not losing the traditions that have developed over 140 years. We will however build new traditions for future generations.
When I started this role, I said that the board and staff of Athletics NSW had three areas of focus. Those being:
3. Member servicing.
In each of these areas we have moved forward, and whilst sometimes that may have been by little steps (the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen), we have nonetheless marched onwards.
The Joint Working Party, which is made up of representatives from Athletics NSW, Little Athletics NSW, and NSW Masters, has met 6 times this year. We work together as a team with the one objective of working toward one sport providing it is for the betterment of everyone in athletics regardless of your involvement. We have active sub committees working on Marketing, Officials, and Coaches. Guiding these sub committees is an overarching strategic plan for OneSport.
Our sport is very diverse. We are actually made up of several smaller sports. On Track we have sprinters, middle distance, and long-distance runners. We also have Walkers. In the Field we have jumpers and throwers. Away from a stadium we have Cross Country runners. We also have road running, and race walking out of stadium. And of course, recreational runners.
When we say we want to increase participation we need to think of the totality of what “Athletics” means. If we look at what has happened over the past 12 months, the number of people participating in our sport has definitely increased.
I have spoken many times about our athletics’ family. I truly believe we are a family; athletes, coaches, officials, club administrators, parents, and fans. There has been a concerted effort to provide world’s best practice with providing service to our family members. The feedback that I have had is that we have been achieving this and it has been appreciated
Board of Directors
I want to thank the board of directors of Athletics NSW for the brave decisions that they have made this year. It has been a year of reform and Athletics NSW is both a company and also the governing body for our sport. We have legal and compliance issues as well as regulatory requirements that we must meet while at the same time developing athletics at all levels. The balance of all of this can be challenging especially when we are looking to make positive change. Thank you to each board member who, like many other people in our sport, is volunteering their time and skills for the betterment of athletics.
This year we will be declaring a small surplus. We have invested responsibly in the sport over the past 12 months and we plan to put even more money back into the sport next year.
Our balance sheet is strong, and we have a large pool of reserves. We are in an extremely healthy position for growth and moving forward.
Our Officials and Volunteers
Our Officials are the backbone of our competitions. Week in and week out. Summer and winter. Rain and heat. The first to arrive and the last to leave. Our officials are some of the best in the world and consistently deliver the framework for participation and competition without these skilled and passionate individuals we would not be able to participate in our sport.
Our staff have had a stellar year. We are lucky to have a vibrant, committed, and dedicated group of men and women that put in ‘above and beyond’ what is expected of them. Customer service has been their number one priority, and this can always be hard given the many hundreds of people that are in contact with the NSW office each day. Pleasingly we have only had one staff member leave in 12 months and this was because of a career growth opportunity. The staff not only works as a team amongst themselves, but also with officials, coaches, athletes, club administrators, volunteers, parents, and of course the board of directors.
Building for the future
It has been a huge year but as the song says, “We’ve only just begun.” We have a number of new initiatives in store with Treloar Shield and Club Championships. We are also looking at the format of the State Open Championships. And The Sydney Track Classic will be completely revamped.
We are of course Athletics NSW and not Athletics Sydney and we are fully reviewing our country competitions and the structure of the Country Championships.
Turning to Out of Stadium we are continuing to look at the format of cross country and our road races.
In addition to these areas of competition we are developing a landmark recreational running event for the western suburbs and an equally innovative event for the eastern suburbs. You will hear a lot about these initiatives over the coming months. I look forward to working with you over the next 12 months to make this an even bigger year for our sport.
What an exciting time to be involved in athletics!
Dr Peter Higgins