Olympian Vander-Kuyp inspires local Little Athletes
Australian athletics legend Kyle Vander-Kuyp hurdled into Yarra Ranges, Croydon and Ringwood Little Athletics as part of the Coles Little Athletes Big Dreams community tour on Saturday.
The dual Olympian, four-time Commonwealth Games representative and 12-time Australian champion hurdler shared his winning formula with around 450 aspiring athletes from all three Little Athletics centres in a whirlwind tour of the eastern suburbs.
Kyle began his athletics journey at Ringwood Little Athletics centre in the 1980’s before becoming one of the most respected and accomplished Australian track stars.
The proud Worimi and Yuin Indigenous athlete remains one of Australia’s greatest ever 110m hurdlers. He still holds the Australian 110m Hurdles record of 13.29 he set in Sweden back in 1995.
Kyle said he thoroughly enjoyed meeting the next generation of Aussie athletes and being able to visit grassroots Little Athletics centre as part of the Coles Little Athletes Big Dreams program.
“It was so much fun to head back to where it all started for me. Little Athletics will always hold a special place for me, because it is where a shy little kid like myself was able to find his passion in life,” he said.
“I tried everything from long jump, to the Fosbury flop, to race walking, and eventually discovered hurdles. To see so many kids down here having a great time with their friends, as well as their parents reminded me of how amazing our sport actually is.”
Ringwood Little Athletics’ President Michael Smith was thrilled to welcome Kyle back to his former little athletics centre.
“We’re all very proud of all Kyle’s amazing accomplishments as an athlete and an Australian sporting legend. He is living proof to our current crop of little athletes of where athletics can take them if they work hard and continue to enjoy the sport,” he said.
Yarra Ranges Little Athletics’ Vice President Jamie Strudley said:
“It was terrific to have an Australian track and field legend like Kyle visit our Little Athletics centre to inspire our athletes and provide tips to our hurdlers. Many of our parents who grew up watching Kyle’s races at the Olympics and World Championships got a buzz out of it too!”
The Coles Little Athletes Big Dreams community visitation program will see current and former Australian track and field stars such as Kyle Vander-Kuyp, Sally Pearson and Brandon Starc visit grassroots Little Athletics centres to inspire little athletes to lead happier, healthier lives.
Coles is the major partner of Little Athletics Australia and community partner of Athletics Australia. In addition to the Coles Little Athletes Big Dreams community program, Coles has donated over 3 million bananas and provided more than $1.6 million in grants for sports equipment to Little Athletics centres across Australia.