Amanda's a champion coach

CARLA PENMAN
Last updated 11:30 31/01/2013
Amanda Goldsmith
AMY JACKMAN
Expert advice: Amanda Goldsmith dispenses long-jump advice during an Olympic Harriers training day.

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Olympic Harriers athletics coach Amanda Goldsmith has been producing champion athletes for more than 40 years.

Mrs Goldsmith, 61, is from the small South African town of Orkney, Northern Transvaal.

Though she turned to coaching when she was just 20, she was also no mean athlete herself.

"At first hurdles was my passion," she said, "Later I turned to middle and long-distance running, and half-marathons."

At one point, Mrs Goldsmith ran 1790km in 17 days to raise money for Rotary in South Africa.

She headed overseas when she was in her 40s, coaching in the United States and Australia, before moving to New Zealand.

During the past 15 years, Mrs Goldsmith has helped all sorts of athletes in the Wellington region through her enthusiasm and expertise.

She settled initially in Titahi Bay, where she worked her magic with the local club.

"I took them from being an up- and-coming club to one of the best in New Zealand," she said.

Then she added Wairarapa to her busy schedule, travelling up to four times a week to coach at the Carterton and Masterton clubs.

She said the distance she had to travel from her Wellington base was not a problem. "I absolutely love doing it. My time is consumed by athletics."

Mrs Goldsmith eventually moved to Karori and now heads to Grenada North Park four or five times a week to help athletes at the Olympic Harriers club.

Three coaches - Alastair Leslie, Juan McDonald and Mrs Goldsmith - coach more than 300 athletes at the club.

"I am so honoured [to have] the privilege of being able to work with them.

She has coached some very successful young athletes, including Jordan Rodriguez, Manaaki Walker-Tepania and his brother, Hoani, all of the Titahi Bay club.

The Wellingtonian recently featured a story on Olympic Harriers athlete Islam Khaled-Abbas, who won five gold medals at the 2013 Colgate Games and credited the coaching of Mrs Goldsmith for much of his success.

"I don't know if I am a very hard coach, but I do expect my athletes to put in what I put in," she said.

At Olympic Harriers, she specialises in coaching sprints, high jump, long jump, hurdles, shot put and discus.

Mrs Goldsmith has maintained some links with the Titahi Bay club and still coaches some athletes there.

She said she had no plans to stop any time soon. "I will be rolling around in my wheelchair and still be doing it.

"The angels in heaven will be the fittest they have ever been!"

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- The Wellingtonian

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