WA’s longest-standing track and field timekeeper, who was recently recognised for her 43 years of service at grassroots to international level athletics, says she has no plans of retiring.
Nollamara resident Sef Lazarakis (91) was awarded with a certificate of commendation at the Department of Sport and Recreation’s Industry Sports Officials Awards last month.
Ms Lazarakis, who volunteers every week at the WA Athletics Stadium in Floreat, has officiated at several prestigious competitions, including the Pan Pacifics and national and international masters.
She placed the late Australian hurdler Gary Knoke, Australian sprinters Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and Cathy Freeman and British sprinter Linford Christie among the best athletes she timed on the track.
Ms Lazarakis said her passion for athletics kept her motivated throughout the years.
“What am I going to do at home?” she said.
“I love the camaraderie… some of the athletes come up and thank me for taking their time. It has all been interesting to see people coming through and doing different things and if they are not running they are officiating, which is good.”
The Athletics WA life member said timekeepers served as back-up to the electronic recording system, which would often miss certain times.
“We can always do with timekeepers because we need more of them around,” she said.
Athletics WA chief executive Wayne Loxley said Ms Lazarakis was the cornerstone of athletics.
“We have different people go through
working with her because she is a mentor for them as well in providing support and introducing new people to it,” he said.
“In addition to being very efficient as a volunteer, she is just a lovely person who is very warm and engaging to all the other officials and athletes.”
Ms Lazarakis will return to her timekeeping post when the athletics season starts in September.