The National Primary Games has smashed all previous records with over 2000 athletes turning up for the event on July 21 and 22. The weekend will see around 160 netball, football and rugby league teams as well as a host of gymnasts and tennis players who are coming to town for the games. They’re coming from across the eastern seaboard with teams from Brisbane to Sydney, Coffs Harbour to Dubbo and everywhere in between joining for a fun-filled weekend.
Through their partnership with the Australian Olympic Committee, the Northern Inland Academy of Sport has announced the three Olympians that will be on board for the weekend. Jared Tallent is a walker and has been to three Olympics. He's won a gold, two silvers and a bronze medal. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics Tallent became the first male Australian track and field athlete that had won two medals at a single Games in more than a century.
Tallent is joined by his wife and coach Claire Tallent. She is also a well respected Australian Olympian in her own right. Claire made her international debut at the Race Walking Cup in Naumburg, Germany. She was the silver medalist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and then won the 2012 National title in the 20km event to qualify for the London Games.
Claire was unfortunate not to claim a Commonwealth Games gold medal this year on the Gold Coast, she was leading with 2km to go but was disqualified in very similar circumstances to the heartbreaking episode of Jane Saville at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
The third Olympian to grace the 2018 National Primary Games is boxer Shelley Watts. She made her Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Games, after finishing second at the Asia/Oceania Qualifiers earlier in the same year.
Watts was Australia’s only female boxer at the Rio Games. She went on to claim Australia’s first female boxing gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the lightweight division. Watts was crowned Female Fighter of the 2015 Australian Championships and the Highest Internationally Ranked Female Boxer at the 2015 National Championships on the Gold Coast. She now sits on the Australian Olympic Committee’s Athlete’s Commission and will be a valuable asset to the Games.
ATHLETE PROFILE: Matilda Chapman
Sport: Tamworth Golf Club athlete
How has the NIAS program helped you? It has helped fine-tune my skills. Overall, it has really helped me to develop my chipping and putting skills and has given me more confidence around the greens.
It has also taught me about the other sides of sport including nutrition and developing goals for future success.
What is your highest achievement? Winning club championships and tournaments and the overall JNJG Order of Merit in Nett.
Who’s your favorite athlete? I do look up to Rebecca Artis for inspiration as she came from the same town I live in and showed me even in smaller communities it doesn’t limit the level or goals you want to reach.