Hutt of­fi­cial strikes athletics role gold

The Hutt News - - SPORT - MATTHEWTSO

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.’’

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