Last month Team Bath AC featured not just one father and son duo in the Avon Valley League, but two! Iain 'Oz' Osborne — Junior Team Manager at Team Bath AC — competed in the hammer while his son Rory ran on the track. Meanwhile, Yusuf Qazi and his son Imam ran against each other in the 400m.
We caught up with the duos to find out what it was like to represent Team Bath AC with one another.
How long have you and your son been a part of Team Bath AC? Which events do you both specialise in?
We have been members of Team Bath AC for 2 years. Rory is a Middle Distance Runner and also enjoys throwing the Javelin. I started throwing the Hammer about 9 months ago, having never done any athletics outside of school.
I joined City of Bath AC (as Team Bath AC was then known) in 1990, when I had just finished my GCSEs. I remember finding out about the club through the local newspaper and was keen to give it a try - inspired by the likes of Karl Lewis and Linford Christie. I love sprinting, 100m is my main event.
My two daughters joined the club from the age of 8 and Yusuf, who is my youngest, followed in their footsteps and also signed up as soon as he was 8. Yusuf is useful at various events but I would say his main event is the 800m. Yusuf is also an accomplished tennis player and I really think the athletics training is a great help, as it is with almost any other sport.
How did it feel to compete with your son? Have you competed with each other before?
It was amazing, and a little emotional. To be able to compete alongside him, fighting for points for the team is really special. This was the first time we’ve competed together. In lots of other sports it’s impossible as they are separated by age groups.
I have jostled with Yusuf a few times in training but this was the first time we have raced each other. As he has just turned 15 he can now run 400m, which is my maximum distance, hence it was a good chance to race whilst earning those all important points for the club in the league.
How did it feel? Well, the first 300m felt great! Then in the home straight Yusuf's endurance and ability to hold his form shone through. A painful experience for me but a proud moment at the same time.
Is there a difference between supporting your son as a teammate rather than as a father on the side-lines?
It does feel a little different when I also compete. It’s lovely to hear him wishing me luck and giving me advice as a teammate. I am also the Junior Team Manager for Team Bath so it is good for me to “practice what I preach” and put myself out there.
As with any father, I always keen to support with praise and encouragement. Being a teammate, with years of experience, means I can also support with practical advice and guidance.
How have you both developed during your time with your club?
There are lots of ways in which we have developed over the last two years.
Rory has become much more confident in his abilities, and has learnt that winning isn’t everything, to give himself room to try things and to focus on working hard and trying his best. To see how much he loves being at the track and competing for the club is wonderful to see as a parent.
For me, as someone fast approaching middle age, learning new skills is important. It has helped me develop my fitness, and training with an amazing group of young athletes keeps me feeling younger.
I feel like the club has really helped me develop in various ways through my athletics journey. As well as offering first rate training to help me reach my goals in my younger years, it has also opened my eyes to the true benefits of remaining fit and active in later years. The club has a wonderfully inclusive ethos.
For Yusuf, the club provided a fantastic introduction to athletics. The 365 programme has given him exposure to the full range of events, developing multiple skills and allowing him the opportunity to explore and find his favourite events. Being able to combine training (and competing) with quality family time creates harmony and balance. I guess you could say it is a win win!
What is it like to compete with your dad?
It’s fun. We can get competitive over who did best and also, it’s nice to support each other.
I'm used to running with my dad, since we often train together at the track or park but competing against my dad was a whole new experience for me.
It was really fun and exciting, although that may just be because I beat him.
What would you like to achieve with athletics in the future?
I would like to go to the Olympics and travel the world with Team GB.
Personally, I compete in athletics as a way to keep fit and have fun in a welcoming social environment. I don't currently intend on pursuing it as a career, but who knows what the future holds.
Will you compete with each other again in the future?
Yes, we will compete together in the Avon League Athletics and hopefully at Open meetings.
I was only able to race with my dad because I got bumped up an age group, so until I'm older it's quite unlikely that we'll face each other again. However, I'm looking forward to it if we ever have to compete in the same race again.