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Little athletes from up and down the Mid North Coast welcomed competition for the first time in three years at Wauchope on November 20.
The Mid North Coast Little Athletics zone championships were held at Blackbutt Park in warm, blustery conditions following disruptions from bushfires and COVID since 2019.
Mid North Coast zone coordinator Mark Searles said it was "really exciting to get everyone back" with more than 300 athletes representing clubs from south to Forster, west to Gloucester and north to Stuart's Point.
"We had a big drop-off in numbers when COVID hit and the bushfire year really affected us in the 2019-2020 summer because a lot of activities were cancelled because of smoke," he said.
"Then we had two more years with COVID affecting us so we've lost a lot of athletes over that period, but we've really recovered this year.
"There's a lot of growth in this Mid North Coast area and particularly compared to every other zone in the state."
Port Macquarie and Wauchope made up the bulk of the athletes with both clubs contributing strong numbers which made up almost half of the total competitors.
"We've got a really big centre at Port Macquarie and Wauchope is a large centre as well so they're doing well," Searles said.
"There's been quite a few records broken."
Following the zone championships, athletes will qualify for the regional carnival at Tamworth in February before the state titles are held in Sydney in March.
"It's really exciting to get everyone back. We've got a pretty good roll-up and really recovered from COVID pretty well now," Searles said.
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