Australian Olympians Anneliese Rubie-Renshaw and Ella Nelson coached a group of aspiring runners at the Star Sprinting Clinic at Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre last week.
60 Little Athletes from around the state took part in the clinic, developing their track skills with the help of the two world-class sprinters and former Olympian Youcef Abdi.
Being former Little Athletes themselves, Rubie-Renshaw and Nelson cherish the opportunity to pass on the knowledge they have acquired over their careers.
The sprinting duo recently introduced their Shooting Stars Academy, a camp designed to empower, and encourage young females in sport.
“It’s an opportunity for girls to learn all of the elements of eliteness; we’ve become more mentors than anything for the girls going forward,” said Rubie-Renshaw.
“We try to teach them things that they can take off track as well, or into other sports, or their schooling.”
“We do training, but that’s only one small part of it – the rest is learning about different ways to recover, nutrition, psychology,” said Nelson.
“We have an opportunity for them to get to know us and for us to get to know them.”
Rubie-Renshaw and Nelson were both members of LANSW Trans Tasman touring squads, travelling to New Zealand as part of the State team in 2004 and 2006 respectively.
Next year’s tour to New Zealand will be the 44th and final LANSW Trans Tasman competition, dating back to 1978.
While recollections of the Trans Tasman tour are fading, the Australian sprinters have fond memories of their trip to New Zealand.
“I’m really sad that it’s ending because it’s the best,” said Nelson.
“I have a very vague memory of the trip… but I remember the people that I met there.”
Ironically, despite now travelling the world for competitive athletics, Rubie-Renshaw used to suffer homesickness – therefore, she forced her mother to join the Trans Tasman support team.
“I got so homesick when I would go overseas, so I made my mum come,” said Rubie-Renshaw.
“She’s a massage therapist and had done first aid and everything, so I made her come as the team nurse.
“She’s from New Zealand, so we got to see a lot of family.”
Applications to join the 2020 Trans Tasman NSW touring squad open in September.
Rubie-Renshaw and Nelson love giving back to the Little Athletics community, because the program was a vital aspect of their own sporting development.
“Little A’s played such an important part of me as a person,” said Rubie-Renshaw.
“What I learnt was so important, and I still use a lot of the stuff now that I learnt.
“It developed a lot of my characteristics and who I am as an athlete now as well, so I’m so grateful that I did Little A’s.”
Little Athletics has been the foundation for many of Australia’s greatest athletes, and there will certainly be plenty of others coming through the program in the 2019/20 season.
“I have so many good memories from Little Athletics,” said Nelson.
“Little Athletics is an opportunity to meet new people, to test yourself in a whole bunch of different events, to find a new passion and maybe set a goal of one day being in the Olympics.
“It’s a cool opportunity for yourself to set goals, but also to see what it really means to be the best in the world.”