Hutt official strikes athletics role gold
Jim McIlroy is one of the first Kiwis to snag a spot at the 2018 Commonwealth Games - and he has not even had to don a singlet or running shoes.
He will be one of five Kiwis in a team of about 180 officials adjudicating athletics events at the games which run from April 4 - 15 on Australia’s Gold Coast next year.
McIlroy was delighted with his appointment to the games which would be the biggest event he had attended in an official capacity.
‘‘Instead of being in front of 500 people at the nationals, it will be more like 35,000. Walking out to my first event, I’ll certainly have goosebumps and my hairs will be standing on end.’’
Memories of Dick Taylor’s gold medal in the 10,000 metres at the 1974 Christchurch games and the excitment of that win helped spur him on to be a part of the games.
He had enjoyed the process of working towards the appointment over the last four years, gaining the necessary qualifications, and building his experience at athletics meets around Australasia and the Pacific.
A property manager in Upper Hutt by day, officiating athletics was a labour of love for McIlroy who started in 2000 to support his daughter at the Lower Hutt Amateur Athletics Club.
Now he has worked his way up to become one of the country’s highest ranked officials.
McIlroy is one of 10 area technical officials for Oceania, just one rung below the highest ranking for officials within the International Association of Athletics Federations.
He is qualified to officiate field events such as shot put, discuss, high jump, pole vault and javelin, and is also involved in recruiting and developing athletics officials at home and in the Pacific.
Career highlights had included officiating at the Oceania Championships, Junior Commonwealth Games, International Paralympic Committee World Championships and New Zealand Championships.
Having always had a keen interest in sport, he said he loved being close to the action.
‘‘The level that these athletes perform at is incredible. The power and control... [they are] amazing feats.’’
He was excited to see the likes of Tom Walsh, Valerie Adams, Eliza McCartney and Jacko Gill performing up close and at the highest level.
He was counting down to the start of the games next April.
‘‘Now we just have to wait and see which athletes get in.’’