Port Augusta Little Athletics’ big achievement

RECOGNITION: Michelle Murphy, Shane Packard, Mel Boxall and Lee Holmes were presented with the Regional Centre of the Year trophy at the South Australian Little Athletics Awards. PHOTO: PADLAC.
RECOGNITION: Michelle Murphy, Shane Packard, Mel Boxall and Lee Holmes were presented with the Regional Centre of the Year trophy at the South Australian Little Athletics Awards. PHOTO: PADLAC.

The hard work and dedication of the Port Augusta and Districts Little Athletics Club (PADLAC) has been recognised at a statewide award ceremony.

The local club was named the Regional Centre of the Year, while outgoing PADLAC President Shane Packard was honoured with a Long Service Recognition Award for over 20 years of service.

PADLAC was singled out from a field of about 30 regional centres to take home the trophy for the first time in club history.

Mr Packard said the club was extremely happy to receive the recognition.

“I think it was quite well deserved, considering the amount of work we put in,” he said.

“There’s an enormous amount of work that goes on, but it’s things that we know need to be done in order to limit any issues that may arise.”

PADLAC was praised by the South Australian Little Athletics Association for its retention and increase in participants, going from 73 athletes in the 2016/17 season to 99 in 2017/18.

The club put its hand up to host the past two Country Championships, while also giving locals the chance to get involved in Little Athletics by holding a coaching clinic for parents and caretakers.

Mr Packard said the Little Athletics program has flourished in Port Augusta because it caters to all children.

“There are a lot of kids who don’t play sport, but they go to athletics, have a go and have a bit of fun,” he said. “It’s not necessarily about being the best athlete or sportsperson.”

After watching his four children go through the Little Athletics program, Mr Packard is stepping aside from his role as Club President.

He said winning the Long Service Recognition Award – just three months after being honoured with PADLAC Life Membership – was a “nice way to finish”.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have four kids go right through the whole program, but you don’t just do it for your own kids, you’re out there trying to improve sport in your community, but also to help the individual kids,” Mr Packard said.

“I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done and where the club is at.

“I know the club is in good hands with the committee that has come on this year.”

Lee Holmes has been named as the new President for the upcoming Little Athletics season.