Some of the region’s most promising athletics talent is set to wear the green and gold in Vanuatu next month.
Armidale’s Stuart Geddes, William Vince-Moin, Amelia Mazzei and Trent Low, and Tamworth’s Jessica Aldridge and Emma Klasen have been named in either the Australian or Regional Australia open and under-18 teams for the Melanesian Regional Championships, to be held from May 9-11 in Port Vila.
The bi-annual competition involves athletes from countries in the Melanesian region including Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Norfolk Islands, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The Regional Australian Team is an additional team, which allows athletes in rural and remote areas the opportunity to compete in international competition.
Armidale Athletics, and NIAS athletics program, coach Jay Stone will also be heading over to Vanuatu as an assistant coach of the RAT.
The northern contingent will compete across a range of disciplines from sprinting to throwing, jumping, long distance and steeplechase.
For a few of them it will be their first taste of international competition.
Geddes isn’t one of those, with the championships the third time he has lined up for the RAT after participating in the 2016 Melanesian Championships and the 2017 Oceania Area Championships.
Stepping up to the open division he has been selected to race in the 800m, 1500m and 3000m steeplechase.
William Vince-Moin also competed at the Oceania Area Championships last year. The para athlete was selected in both the Australian and RAT teams but has elected to represent the RAT.
Mazzei and Low will both be competing internationally for the first time, and under the RAT banner. After a great season that saw the NIAS Gunnedah Services and Bowling Club Lonestar program member compete at the Commonwealth Games trials, Mazzei will race in the para 100m, 200m and 400m, while rising sprinter Low will contest the open mens 100m and 200m. Aldridge meanwhile has been selected in the Australian open team in the javelin while Klasen will compete in the under-18s 200m for the Australian team. She and Geddes are both former NIAS athletes.
For the under-18 athletes, the championships will double as the qualification meet for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games to be held in October.
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