Sam Anderson of Toowong Harriers Helped Team Queensland Secure Little Athletics Podium Finish

Sam Anderson of the Toowong Harriers contributed to Team Queensland’s medal haul and podium finish at the Coles Australian Little Athletics Championships held at the Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne. 

Sam placed fifth on countback in the boys Under 13 high jump after clearing 1.60m, just five centimetres away from the podium. His leap helped the Queensland state Little Athletics team nab the second overall in the Under 13 and third in the Under 15 team trophies. 

Overall, the team collected 16 gold, 16 silver and 9 bronze medals over the weekend.

The win comes as Coles launched Banana A-Peel to help local centres like Toowong Harriers, which received a $5,000 grant earlier this season from the Coles Little Athletics Community Fund to buy new timing gates.

Speaking about the grant at the time, Toowong Harriers Little Athletics Centre President Ross Anderson said, “It is a constant challenge to find and retain enough volunteers every week to successfully run the Little A’s meets. These electronic timing and recording solutions will significantly reduce the burden in this space.”

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“The timing gates will remove the need to have eight timing volunteers at each meet which adds up to about 500 plus volunteer hours per season. They will also significantly improve the accuracy of data and reduce the administrative burden on recording officials, with automatic data entry into the Results HQ system.”

“The unplanned but added bonus for the new timing gates is a much more COVID-safe way in which we can operate without multiple pens, stopwatches and notepads changing hands throughout the meets.”

What is Coles Banana A-Peel?

Coles Banana A-Peel donates 10 cents from every kilogram of Cavendish bananas sold at its supermarkets. All funds raised will be directed to the Coles Little Athletics Community Fund to provide sports equipment grants for grassroots Little Athletics clubs and centres.

The fund has already provided 417 Little Athletics centres across Australia with more than $2 million in sports equipment grants in just four years.

Coles Little Athletics Australia President Sherrie Boulter said the funds raised from banana sales at Coles this week would help kids to participate and stay in the sport.

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“Bananas have become synonymous with Little Athletics since we partnered with Coles in 2017 and Coles stores started donating boxes of bananas to their local Little Athletics centres,” she said.

“It’s incredible to think that in just five years, Coles has donated more than 3.7 million bananas to Little Athletics. The banana donations have played a huge role in helping to embed healthy eating habits among young athletes and at Little Athletics canteens across Australia.”

“We’re so excited that this year bananas will also have a role to play in helping fund our sport, in particular, to help our local clubs and centres buy essential equipment for their volunteers and budding athletes.”

Nina Kennedy Supports Banana-A-Peel

Australian pole vault record holder and Coles ambassador Nina Kennedy encouraged shoppers to buy a bunch of bananas to help grassroots Little Athletics centres across the country.

“Little Athletics played a huge part in helping me become the athlete I am today and any support we can give local clubs and centres to buy new and safe sports equipment is invaluable,” she said.

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“Through my role as Coles ambassador, I’ve visited many Little Athletics centres this season and I’ve seen first-hand the benefit that new equipment from the Coles Little Athletics Community Fund provides for kids, volunteers and the club.”

“I hope shoppers across the country can help support our future Aussie track and field stars by buying a bunch of bananas this week.  Not only will you be supporting a great cause, but you’ll be getting a nutritious, healthy snack for your lunchbox.”

Olympian Visits Little Athletes in Toowong During Coles Community Round

Olympian Matthew Denny, Australia’s premier male discus thrower and Coles athletics ambassador, was one of 23 Australian athletes who visited Little Athletics centres across the country — including the one in Toowong.

As part of the inaugural Coles Little Athletics Community Round, children of all ages could meet and learn from some of the nation’s greatest athletes — including Denny, Cameron Crombie and Eliza Ault-Connell, as well as Catriona Bissett, Sarah Carli, and Alex Hulley — as they toured the country.

One of their stops was the Toowong Harriers Little Athletics centre. Making rounds to visit each community provides young aspiring athletes with the opportunity to meet their heroes, which then motivates them to strive harder. Given the pandemic, every little bit of hope helps. “It’s been such a tough year for everyone in athletics,” says Denny, “I hope my visit during Coles Community Round may have even inspired a future Olympian or two.”  

Matthew Denny, who competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is the current Commonwealth Games silver medalist in men’s hammer throw. Denny’s skill with the discus also landed him fourth place at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, an event in which he finished sixth at the 2019 World Championships held in Doha, Qatar.

Olympian Matthew Denny at the Toowong Harriers Little Athletics centre.
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Little athletes were also able to meet young and fast-rising high-jump star Oscar Miers, who won a silver medal at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina by jumping a personal best of 2.22m. As of late, Miers is gunning for a spot on the Olympic team heading to Tokyo in Japan.

Coles, major partner of Little Athletics Australia and community partner of Athletics Australia, has provided Little Athletics centers and young athletes with over 3.5 million bananas and droves of sports equipment whose total worth exceeds $1.68 million. 

According to Coles Corporate Affairs General Manager Sally Fielke, these athletics organizations, namely Little Athletics, “…provides an important pathway for Aussie athletes and it’s also a place where kids develop healthy habits like being active and eating healthily.” 

By providing children with training and the facilities and equipment necessary to help them improve, Little Athletics centres across the country help people practice fitness at a very young age. “That’s why we’re incredibly proud to support Aussie athletes through banana donations and sports equipment grants from the Coles Little Athletics Community Fund.” Fielke concludes.