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The Nelson Photo News



Sportsman of the month

Kathy McHugh

You could pass the diminutive Kathy McHugh on the street without even a backward glance. But if you take a closer look you'll see the lilt in her step that is the trademark of athletes in the peak of condition. But you could hardly associate this slightly-built girl with one of the most gruelling of athletic events cross country running. And yet this female David has already challenged and overcome the Goliath of a senior title in the Wellington centre championships, not once but three successive years and at the age of 15 took a third place in the national women's senior cross country championships. This year, at the age of 16, she was fourth, but so impressed were the selectors of the Christchurch Ladies' Pioneer Harrier Club in her performance that she was selected to join the club's team to compete in the international championships in Scotland in March next year.

All this, of course, is hardly news to Nelsonians who have followed the meteoric rise of this young woman to prominence in her chosen sporting field. The unusual feature of her rise to first harrier lady of the Wellington centre is that she has overcome what one would have considered her greatest barrier – her size. Kathy is a little under 6 stone and is hardly 5ft. Yet she thinks nothing of running about 50 miles a week and used to play hockey in the morning before running in club races in the afternoon. And she's versatile – indoor basketball, swimming, diving, softball and tennis. All are sports she plays with skill. Her list of successes are too great to record here. Suffice to say that Kathy is a champion.

A final word. To compete in Scotland, Kathy has to find $1400, and to the end of raising this sum the Trafalgar Harrier Club, to which she belongs, has launched an appeal for funds. Come On NelsonLet's Give Kathy A Shove Over This Hurdle.