Sat 16th Mar 2019
Article appearing in Hampshire Chronicle this week written by Jeremy Wilson
The Winchester and District Athletics Club was described as “one of the most impressive” in the country by the chief executive of England Athletics during a visit last week to the University of Winchester Sports Stadium.
With an extraordinarily large membership of 930 athletes, WADAC is not just one of the biggest sports organisations in the entire city but the largest athletics club in the region and the fifth biggest in the whole country.
Chris Jones, the CEO of England Athletics, stayed at the club for almost four hours last Tuesday to watch the full range of coaching groups in action, beginning with the Under-11s academy right the way through to sprint, endurance and field event training for athletes of all different ages.
“It is quite a setting and I have rarely seen so many athletes in one evening when I have visited other clubs across the country,” said Jones. “It was striking also not just to see such a range of athletes but every athletics discipline being taught and such a variation in age among the volunteers.
“It was a fantastic evening - and definitely one of the most impressive and enjoyable visits that I have made since I started in the post over seven years ago.”
There are 17,500 athletics clubs in the country, with 180,000 registered athletes, equally split in numbers between women and men. Jones, who was shown around the club by WADAC chairman Paul Cox, said that athletics was currently experiencing a boom in this country, with huge numbers also running informally in groups and at events such as the parkrun.
WADAC has an especially thriving children’s section, but has athletes aged from eight to over 80 and beginners all the way up to senior internationals.
The club has gone from strength to strength since Winchester’s first Olympic-standard athletics track was opened and, with a new sports centre due to be built on the adjoining site, the club is hoping to expand and add a stand as well as indoor facilities.
There is currently no indoor athletics facility or track in the region.
Those with an interest in athletics who would like to join or help out as a coach or an official, should contact Winchester Athletics development officer Kathryn Miles at Kathryn.email@example.com