Country focus for next stars

MANY SKILLS:  Lockyer District Athletics Club competitors Daniel Garton, Kaleb O’Keeffe, Branden Wood (background), Mykala Greenup-Joseph and Annie McGuire are among those with higher goals.


WHEN asked where he gets his endless energy from, Bailey Pashley laughs and answers:  “I don’t know”.

However, setting up a new club at the age of 75 shows the fire still burns in Pashley’s belly.

“I think (it’s) just the motivation of something new,” the highly respected coach said.

Finding and helping athletes reach their potential keeps Pashley young.

That’s why the 2015 Ipswich Australia Day sports administrator of the year left the Ipswich and District Athletics Club to establish a new country base at Karrabin.

“We did a recruitment drive here in Ipswich about three years ago,” he said, noticing the untapped potential in nearby country areas.

“I’ve done a fair bit of work with a couple of the schools up there and I go to their districts and just realised the depth of talent.”

The Lockyer District Athletics Club has been running since last October.

It is Pashley’s fourth club in more than 50 years involved with the sport.

Pashley has past links to the Sunshine Coast, where he became a club life member.  He also set up the Helidon Athletics Club in the 1960s while teaching previously in the Lockyer area.

He later joined the Ipswich and District Athletics Club, becoming president in addition to his ongoing senior coaching role.

Before that, the level 5 coach competed as a high jumper well into his forties, working with and learning from Australia’s best.

In recent years, Pashley has focused on recruiting new talent.

Setting up a club and searching country schools between Ipswich and Gatton seemed the next step.

“That’s the whole purpose of it,” he said.  “You don’t like to see talented athletes not have opportunities.”

Pashley (pictured) wants to see more regional athletes reach higher levels, including the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

One of his big hopes is high jumper Cassie Purdon, who just missed a bronze medal at last year’s World Junior championships in the US.

Through an athletic program, Pashley and former Faith Lutheran College student Purdon have been encouraging country teenagers.

“I desperately want to let them know that there are things like world youth and world juniors and a lot of them haven’t got past Met West,” Pashley said.  “The aim of this coming school season will be to get a few more into state and once they get to that, well everything opens up for them.”

Pashley trains his athletes at Limestone Park and at his own athletics centre at Karrabin.

As for why it was called the Lockyer District Athletics Club, Pashley said it deliberately targeted country locations away from the established city clubs.

“I’d love to expand but I just can’t do it,” he said.

“I haven’t got enough legs and arms to go Boonah-Fassifern.”

Lifting Lockyer’s profile will keep him busy for now.