Lismore has been awarded two major Little Athletics carnivals in December and February, when the city plays host to around 1,100 small sporting stars and their families.
More than 300 young athletes, aged between six and 17, will converge on Riverview Park in South Lismore for the 2013 Northern Rivers Zone Little Athletics Championships on the weekend of December 14 and 15.
Then on the weekend of February 1 and 2 next year, another 800 athletes and their families from as far south as Forster and west to Narrabri and Moree are expected to compete in the Little Athletics NSW Region One Championships.
The athletes will contest a full range of track events from 60 metres to 3,000 metres, as well as long jump, high jump, triple jump, shot put, discus and javelin. The Region One Championships will see athletes compete in their age groups, from under-8 through to under-17, for a spot at the state championships.
‘We’re extremely pleased to be having the championships in Lismore this year as the facilities here are one of the best in the region,’ said Stephen Nicolas, president of the Northern Rivers Zone Little Athletics NSW Championship organising committee.
‘The track is very fast and all the field events can be watched from the perimeter of the track, unlike some other venues where many of the events are run away from the main track, making viewing particularly difficult.’
Lismore City Council tourism coordinator Mitch Lowe said having more than 1,000 young athletes and their families visiting Lismore within a two-month period would inject hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy.
‘Lismore has well and truly built a reputation as a sporting city with great facilities and hospitality. We are securing more and more major sporting events, which is fantastic for our local businesspeople and sporting community,’ Mitch said.
Each year across NSW, approximately 40,000 boys and girls take part in Little Athletics. Last year the Lismore and Ballina Little Athletics clubs had more than 100 athletes qualify to compete in the Region One Championships and it is expected that the same or even greater numbers should be representing the district in 2014.