JEREMY Dixon saw a solution was needed to sort out a problem holding back south-west Victoria's emerging athletics superstars.
The former New Zealand national champion runner, who is now a high-level coach in the region, noticed there was demand for a senior athletics club to be created to service the expanded interest in the sport.
That need became the cornerstone for the creation of the region's newest club - Athletics South West Turbines.
"It was driven by demand so a number of athletes were keen for coaching services and we found more and more kids were getting involved but unfortunately there was no seniors pathway after little athletics," Dixon said.
"So we thought we would try and do something about that."
Previously the region's athletes had the option of the Warrnambool Little Athletics Club or the Warrnambool Athletics Club.
The WLAC only catered for athletes from under six right up to the under 15 age group while the WAC focuses on running its own events in the region, such as the Warrnambool Running Festival and Summer Series.
Athletics South West is a member club of Athletics Victoria - the governing body which oversees the senior divisions of the sport across the state.
That membership allows the athletes to compere in AV shield and state final events.
Dixon, who is the club's inaugural president, said the association with AV was a big factor in Athletics South West's creation.
"The original catalyst was when I was speaking to Athletics Victoria about trying to develop a regional membership for our athletes down here because the closest competition is two hours away," he said.
"Upon having discussions with them they were quite keen to support and throw some resources at developing the club and it has come about relatively quickly and was borne out of those conversations."
We found more and more kids were getting involved but unfortunately there was no seniors pathway after little athletics.Jeremy Dixon
The Athletics Victoria Target Talent Program assistant sprints coach was surprised at how quickly the club was growing in the early stages of a new season.
"It's already exceeded expectations as we have only really been talking about this for the past couple of months and we have almost 20 athletes as members," he said.
"That is growing and we have queries around coaching and wanting to get involved so there is great potential.
"We have some great talent down here and the club is there to try help facilitate and grow that talent."
Since moving to Warrnambool with his young family in 2017, Dixon has noticed a steep rise in interest for the sport.
"There is several squads and coaching squads that are developing," he said.
"With the coaching available there are more and more kids from across the region from Portland, Camperdown, Terang, Warrnambool who are all getting more and more involved.
"It's pretty exciting and I think it will continue to grow."
On Wednesday night, Warrnambool athletes Jesse Suter and Grace Kelly were invited to the inaugural Peter Norman Classic, which honours the late Australian 200-metre record-holder.
Norman's heroic Olympic silent protest on the medal dais with African Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos was immortalised in a bronze statue outside of Melbourne's Albert Park athletics track on the night.
Athletes from across the state were invited to run in the special event following the unveiling with Suter and Kelly in attendance.
Suter, an Athletics South West member, came across the finish line in second with a new personal best time.
Kelly, who runs for Ballarat Harriers but trains in Warrnambool, blitzed the field to claim the victory in her own race but fell short of a personal best.
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