ORANGE Little Athletics head coach Astrid Lepelaar expects some new faces for the 2012-13 season after Australia’s Sally Pearson won Olympic gold on Wednesday morning (AEST).
Pearson won the women’s 100m hurdles in an Olympic record time of 12.35 seconds.
She was the hot favourite for the event and edged out Americans Dawn Harper (12.37s) and Kellie Wells (12.48s).
Pearson started out in Little Athletics and has kept the same coach right through her career.
Lepelaar said she expected the Olympics to encourage more children to take up athletics.
“Usually we get a higher rate of registrations during an Olympic year anyway because people see the athletics,” Lepelaar explained.
“Normally in Australia you don’t really see athletics unless it’s an Olympic or Commonwealth Games year.”
Lepelaar added it wasn’t just Pearson who would inspire children to take up athletics.
“It’s not just Sally Pearson,” she said.
“Mitchell Watt won silver in the men’s long jump, Henry Frayne made the long jump final, Steven Solomon was in the men’s 400m final. The Australian athletes are doing really well.”
The way different athletes handle the pressure of competing on the Olympic stage has interested Lepelaar.
She said Pearson’s ability to acknowledge the crowd but remain focused on her event showed a good balance.
Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake have almost performed for the crowd while they are introduced.
“I think a lot of the Jamaican athletes like that way of dealing with the pressure,” Lepelaar said.
“You can either go all intense and have it affect your race or you can have fun with it.”
Even Lepelaar can’t help but admire men’s 100m Olympic gold medallist Bolt.
“I think everyone who sees him run are excited to see him run because he does it so easily. He’s nice to watch when he’s running well,” she said.
“I think the kids just like the lightning bolt thing.”
Orange Little Athletics will start their 2012-13 season on Friday, October 12.
The club will have registration days on September 9 and 16 at Waratah Sports Club from 2-4pm.
Little Athletics caters to children from under 5s through to under 17s.
For more information on Orange Little Athletics go to www.orangela.org.au.