SEEING sport cancellations is becoming a routine part of a COVID-19 world but seeing whole stack of junior events scratched off the calendar in one go is still a tough thing for many kids across Bathurst and the Central West to see.
That's sadly what happened earlier this month when the NSW School Sport Unit cancelled all their representative carnivals for the remainder of the year.
Primary and secondary events across football, rugby league, netball, gymnastics, rugby union, rugby sevens and hockey were all cut from the 2021 season due to the ongoing battle against the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
But it was athletics which was hit particularly hard, with October's NSW All Schools Cross Country Championship and December's Primary and Secondary Athletics Championships all being cut.
Bathurst Little Athletics president Mike Curtin said the tough thing about the cancellations is seeing positive, physical outlets for children being scratched from the calendar.
"Kids work through their primary schooling for the opportunity to represent their zone, region or school. To have those opportunities disappear is very difficult," he said.
"It's especially difficult for kids who are in their final years of school, like year 5 and 6. We said to those kids in year 5 last year 'Don't worry it will be better next year'. Now they're in year 6 and it's not better. It's the same story for the year 11 kids who are losing opportunities as well.
"It wasn't just athletics, it was a lot of sports for kids across the community, and I think it makes such a big psychological impact. A lot of kids live for it, especially those who aren't so academically inclined.
"Bathurst schools are really good at nurturing skills and talents for lots of kids, not just academic skills and talents, and to lose the sporting aspect of that is really tough."
Curtin said while it's tough to see Little Athletics enter its own period of uncertainty he believes the loss of the school pathway is very significant.
"There's two pathways in athletics. There's the school pathway, which goes through the schools, then regions and then into PSSA. Then there's the Little Athletics pathway, but the difference between the two is that everyone is involved in the school pathway," he said.
"Every kid in the state at school must do athletics. That means that if you get through to PSSA in any sport then you are one of the best kids in the state in that event.
"Bathurst traditionally has lots of kids who get through to that level. Some of them do Little Athletics and some of them don't but they're naturally gifted athletes. Losing that opportunity is a difficult thing for all of them.
"There's a good chance that in Little Athletics we may end up having zone carnivals cancelled and we could find ourselves doing what we did last year, which is having direct qualification into regional based on club times."
Unfortunately for Bathurst Little Athletics, and other clubs across the state, they will not be permitted to run their club nights under the current health orders.
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