Building a better sporting environment for primary school pupils is the goal of Jamie Lane, of Wanaka.
Mr Lane has taken up the newly created role of regional sport director for the Central Otago Primary School Sport Association (COPSSA).
He will co-ordinate the new level of sports ‘‘zones’’ that have been created between school sports championships and Central Otago sports championships.
The three zones, Dunstan, Wakatipu and Upper Clutha would provide a better bridge for pupils who did well in their individual school championships but weren’t ready for Central Otago championships.
With growing school populations across the regions, some pupils were missing out on being able to take part in sports because of the level of competition they would face at the Central Otago championships, he said.
‘‘To make it easier and more sustainable they have put in zones.
‘‘So there is a bit of a pathway for kids.’’
This would mean there was an opportunity for children to achieve results in a more progressive fashion, with the ability to succeed at school, then in the zones before reaching the higher level of Central Otago championships, Mr Lane said.
‘‘So going through more layers, and as those layers go up, the numbers start to thin out.’’
There would be more of a ‘‘best of the best’’ from schools and zones at the Central Otago championships.
His role would enable better co-ordination and help between the different schools.
‘‘The zones and the schools still own those events, but my job is more as a support mechanism and aide and advocate.’’
With five core sports and three zones, there were 15 more sporting events to be incorporated into the school calendar.
Mr Lane was able to work with all the schools to prevent clashes and enable teachers to focus their time in the classroom, he said.
His main focus was around 3000 pupils between years five and eight in the region.
‘‘All the zones are starting to write rules about what qualifies for certain events.
‘‘The main sports at the moment are swimming, triathlon, orienteering, crosscountry and athletics.’’
A trial was also being conducted in the Dunstan zone for athletes with disability (AWD).
This would allow for more inclusion and diversification, allowing AWD athletes to be part of zone competitions.
If the trial went well this could be extended to the other zones, with the potential for AWD athletes to be part of Central Otago championships in a few years’ time, Mr Lane said.